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The hunt for antibiotics

The worldwide hunt for new antibiotics takes researchers to the cold waters of the Arctic.

Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 14:32
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Deep in the cold waters of the Arctic Circle lurk marine organisms which could hold the key to one of the biggest challenges of modern medicine - resistance to antibiotics.

Scientists collaborating on the PharmaSea project are hoping that organisms found in the fjords of Norway, such as deep-sea sponges and bacteria, could help create vital new antibiotics.

The PharmaSea project is part of a worldwide mission which will also travel to remote locations in China, New Zealand, Chile and Antarctica.

Species and organisms that are collected on each expedition are meticulously sorted and then tested for their ability to kill bacteria. In Norway, the samples are taken to the state of the art lab at the University of Tromso for analysis.

The widespread use and misuse of antibiotics is leading to the development of strains of bacteria that are not susceptible to standard drug treatments. The World Health Organisation has warned that rising resistance to antibiotics could mean the “end of modern medicine as we know it”.

Dr Joff Lacey joins a team of scientists in Norway hoping to discover the next antibiotic.

 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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