First new natural antibiotic in decades discovered in Pacific Ocean

A new antibiotic that is effective at killing anthrax and superbug MRSA bacteria could be a weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance – and terrorism.

Anthracimycin, a chemical compound derived from the Steptomyces bacteria, was discovered in the ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara in California. Its unique chemical structure makes it a new addition to the antibiotic family that could pave the way for new drugs…

“The discovery of truly new antibiotic compounds is quite rare,” said William Fenical, Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who led the research team.

“It’s not just one discovery,” he said. “It opens up the opportunity to develop analogues – potentially hundreds. Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin in the 1928 and from that more than 25 drugs were developed. When you find a new antibiotic structure, it goes beyond just one.”

The team has openly published their findings in the German applied chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie for pharmaceutical companies and governments that may be interested in starting research and development (RND) programmes.

RTFA not only for detail about this discovery. There is a chunk of interesting discussion about growing antibiotic resistance, the narrow approach to developing new products constraining big pharmaceutical corporations.

Thanks, Honeyman

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