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Compound in ocean microbe shows potency against anthrax

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have discovered a new chemical compound that could one day set the stage for new treatments
Anthracimycin paper coauthors Lauren Paul and William Fenical in Fenical's laboratory at the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine
 |     |   07-23-2013
Initial testing of the compound, which they named anthracimycin, revealed its potency as a killer of anthrax as well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

The discovery of truly new antibiotic compounds is quite rare. This discovery adds to many previous discoveries that show that marine bacteria are genetically and chemically unique.

—William Fenical, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The discovery provides the latest evidence that the oceans, and many of its unexplored regions, represent a vast resource for new materials that could one day treat a variety of diseases and illnesses.

The team led by William Fenical at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego group first collected the microorganism that produces the compound in 2012 from sediments close to shore off Santa Barbara, California.

Early antibiotic treatment of anthrax is essential—delay significantly lessens chances for survival. In recent years there have been many attempts to develop new drugs against anthrax, but existing drugs are effective if treatment is started soon enough.

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