Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their partners are looking to the sea for new medicines. For example, they have found a new medicine from the sea that might – when used as a “helper drug” – let formally antibiotic resistant bacteria work to fight bacterial infections again. The drug was discovered during scientific research on corals, sponges and other marine organisms. The scientists hope that the new drug may be useful as a helper drug that could be prescribed along with antibiotics that have lost their effectiveness.
This new medicine works by destroying the shield that anti-biotic resistant bacteria use to defend themselves against antibiotic medicines. The video below explains more.
Scientists are finding new antibiotics from the sea as well. They’ve extracted chemicals from corals and sponges that fight some of the worst infectious bacteria.
That’s good news for us at this time of year, since people get sick more often in the winter, when they tend to stay indoors where they’re more likely to spread germs to one another.
When the illness is caused by a bacterial infection, doctors will often prescribe antibiotic medicines to help people fight off the infection. Unfortunately, some antibiotic medicines have lost their effectiveness over time because bacteria can quickly adapt and become resistant to the drugs.
You can learn more about NOAA’s research on medicines from the sea at the Ocean Today website.
Deanna Conners is an Environmental Scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Toxicology and an M.S. in Environmental Studies. Her interest in toxicology stems from having grown up near the Love Canal Superfund Site in New York. Her current work is to provide high-quality scientific information to the public and decision-makers and to help build cross-disciplinary partnerships that help solve environmental problems. She writes about Earth science and nature conservation for EarthSky.