Scientists Discover A Sponge Extract In Antarctica, Can Kill 'SuperBug' MRSA Bacterium

First Posted: Jul 03, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

The scientists from the University of South Florida discovered an extract from a sponge that can be found in Antarctica, which can kill over 98 percent of MRSA cells. These cells can cause MRSA infection. This infection is triggered by a type of bacteria that is resistant to many of the antibiotics.

Dr. Lindsey N. Shaw, the co-author of the study and USF microbiologist said that in the recent years, MRSA has become resistant to vancomycin and threatens to take away the most valuable treatment option against staph infections as noted by Eurek Alert.

The study was printed in the American Chemical Society's journal Organic Letters. The scientists have named the extract "darwinolide." Dr. Bill Baker, USF chemistry professor stated that when they screened darwinolide against MRSA they found that only 1.6 percent of the bacterium survived and grew. This indicates that darwinolide may be a good foundation for an urgently needed antibiotic against biofilms.

MRSA bacteria create a biofilm. Dr. Shaw said that biofilms, which is formed by many pathogenic bacteria during infection, are a collection of cells coated in a variety of carbohydrates, proteins and DNA. She further said that up to 80 percent of all infections are caused by biofilms and are resistant to therapy. She added that they desperately need anti-biofilm agents to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections like MRSA.

MRSA or the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus causes infection in various parts of the body. It affects the skin, like sores or boils. It may also infect the bloodstream, surgical wounds, the urinary tract or the lungs. It spreads from places such as nursing homes and hospitals and now found in commonly used places. You could get MRSA by touching another person or objects that have the bacteria on them.

The researchers concluded that this discovery indicates that darwinolide may present a highly suitable scaffold for the development of urgently needed, novel, anti-biofilm-specific antibiotics.

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