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Scientists take to the sea to find new antibiotics

Published: 12 Mar 2013

In the never ending fight against bacteria, scientists are venturing to the bottom of the sea in search of new weapons.

The £8 million project will see a team of researchers from Aberdeen University look for undiscovered chemicals in life that has found a niche in deep sea trenches, which could then be turned into the next generation of antibiotics.

Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, has already warned that microbes are winning the fight, with too few new drugs currently in the pipeline.

It is hoped that the trip to be the bottom of the sea may prove fruitful, as species down there have evolved entirely separately in extreme conditions.

Project leader Marcel Jaspars, professor of chemistry at the University of Aberdeen, said: "If nothing's done to combat this problem we're going to be back to a 'pre-antibiotic era' in around 10 or 20 years, where bugs and infections that are currently quite simple to treat could be fatal."

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