OCT 19, 2016 02:56 PM PDT

Could the Next Antibiotic be Hidden on the Ocean Floor?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In 1928, Alexander Fleming transformed the world of medicine with the discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin. Scientists soon found ways to mass-produce the antibiotic. And they also extended the list of available antibiotics to other types of bacteria.

However, the Golden Age of antibiotics discovery in the 1950s and 1960s has since come and gone. And today, we've not added a new antibiotic to the list in decades. Such stagnant output would be okay, except that the bacteria are catching up and becoming resistant to the drugs we already have.

Now, pressured by the rise of drug-resistant superbugs, scientists are doubling on the efforts to stop antibiotic resistance while simultaneously working to discover new potent antibiotics. And scientists are scouring in one unconventional location for new drugs: the ocean floor. This resource is teeming with microbes and rich in other biodiversity, making it a promising place to begin the new search.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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