New antibiotic from oceans could treat 'super-bug' infections

Aug. 1, 2013 at 6:42 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A new antibiotic compound found in marine microorganisms in sediments off the coast of California could help defeat resistant infections, researchers say.

The discovery of a completely new class of antibiotics is rare, and raises hopes of effected treatments for infections like MRSA and anthrax that pose a serious threat to human health, experts said.

The new compound, anthracimycin, seems to be effective in combating such infections because its structure is unlike any previously-reported natural antibiotic.

It was extracted from Streptomyces bacteria collected in Pacific Ocean sediments.

"The real importance of this work is that anthracimycin has a new and unique chemical structure," research leader William Fenical of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said. "The discovery of truly new chemical compounds is quite rare. This discovery adds to many previous discoveries that show that marine bacteria are genetically and chemically unique."

"It's not just one discovery. It opens up the opportunity to develop analogues -- potentially hundreds," Fenical said in a Scripps release. "Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin in 1928 and from that more than 25 drugs were developed. When you find a new antibiotic structure, it goes beyond just one."

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