Scientists say they have engineered a new antibiotic that appears promising in early clinical trials. The drug, made by Shionogi Inc, acts like the Trojan horse in Greek legend to trick bacteria into allowing it to enter. Trials on 448 people with a kidney or urinary tract infection suggested the drug was as effective as current treatments. Experts said the findings were an encouraging development. The drug takes inspiration from the story of the giant wooden horse which was used to sneak Greek warriors into the city of Troy. But instead of wood, iron is used to smuggle an antibiotic into bacteria. Dr Simon Portsmouth, who led the international research, said: “During an acute infection, one of our innate immune responses is to create an iron-poor environment. “In response, bacteria increase their iron intake.” The new antibiotic, cefiderocol, binds to iron and, in a deadly mistake, bacteria transport it past their defences and inside their cells. The trial results have been reported in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. “Cefiderocol was found to be both safe and tolerable,” says Dr Portsmouth.