A new drug has been found to be effective in treating the highly contagious skin infection ‘Impetigo’, says a study by NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc.

When tested in a treatment group involving 129 patients, the experimental drug code-named NVC-422, helped eradicate as much as 90 percent of the bugs causing the disease, including those resistant to commonly used medicines against this bacterial infection.

All the patients were treated with a gel formulation containing NVC-422 in three strengths, three times a day, for a week.

Patients showed clinical response rates of 85, 87 and 92 percent, for the low, medium and high doses, respectively.

“The results of this trial are very encouraging for the medical community. If NVC-422 were approved, physicians would potentially have a weapon against superficial skin infections caused by MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus],” said Dr. Richard Odom, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology and former chair and current professor of clinical dermatology at UCSF, in a NovaBay release.

Based on the results of the trial, NovaBay plans to present its development strategies for the drug to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The antimicrobial is designed to mimic the body’s own white blood cells to fight infection.

In preclinical testing, the drug has shown to be highly effective against bacteria, including drug-resistant strains, viruses and fungi.

The new drug will be further tested for the treatment of additional superficial skin and skin structure infections, including atopic dermatoses, secondarily infected lesions and simple abscesses.

Impetigo is an infection caused by staphylococcus strains of bacteria. Impetigo can spread from person to person over several days through direct contact with the sores or by sharing towels, clothing, or utensils, which come in contact with the drainage from the sores.