Covid tests and superbugs: why the deep sea is key to fighting pandemics

Posted by on September 29, 2021 1:30 am
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Categories: Global Stories

As scientists explore how life in the abyss could generate new medicines, deep-sea mining is threatening to wipe it out

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It has been 30 years since the last new class of antibiotic was introduced to the market. All the existing drugs are essentially variations on a theme: they kill bacteria, in similar ways. Some burst cells walls, others block DNA replication.

But the bacteria are swiftly evolving to survive those chemical attacks – and as they survive, they become virulent superbugs. Without new antibiotics, by 2050 the death toll from drug-resistant infections is projected to reach 10 million people a year, making the coronavirus pandemic seem almost quaint.

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