Friday, 9 August 2013

Washed-up microbe can kill anthrax

San Diego scientists say they have found a compound in the ocean off Santa Barbara, Calif., that can kill anthrax and other infectious diseases.
A science team have identified a new chemical compound from the sea that may become an effective treatment against the potentially the disease anthrax, according to LA Jolla Light.
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and animals. Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for several days, followed by severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.
The newly discovered compound comes from a microorganism known as Streptomyces. This was isolated in 2012 and it has taken the course of a year to extract and test out the compound against the anthrax bacterium. The compound has been named anthracimycin. According to X-Ray Mag, initial testing has shown the compound to be potent in killing both anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
The discovery was made by a team led by William Fenical from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Discussing the research, Fenical told Medical News Today:
“The last chemically-novel antibiotic was introduced in 1993. The vast majority of our antibiotics are derivatives of well-known chemical structures, many of which were discovered over 40 years ago. To overcome the medical emergency we face with drug-resistant infectious diseases such as MRSA, we need to discover entirely new antibiotics. By new, I mean compounds with chemical formulations never seen before.”
Fenical went onto add: “Anthracimycin is just such a discovery. It is composed of a chemical structure never seen or envisioned in the past. Its potency against anthrax and MRSA suggests that this new structure type should be carefully explored by those industries that are developing antibiotics."
The research has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Posted by Tim Sandle