PerspectiveDRUG DISCOVERY

Drugs from bugs in creatures of the sea

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Science  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6519, pp. 906-907
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf1675

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Summary

Infectious diseases can pose a devastating threat to human health around the globe. As the risk rises, the world is running out of effective drugs to treat infections caused by deadly microbes. Many existing drugs have been rendered obsolete by the rapid emergence and spread of drug resistance. Thus, there is a dire need for new medicines with which to treat infectious disease. This is especially pressing for fungal killers. There are only three major classes of antifungal drugs, and resistance is rampant, leading to the death of ∼1.5 million people each year (1, 2). Success in developing effective new treatments depends on creative approaches, including those that harness the chemical diversity in nature, tuned over millions of years of evolution. In this spirit, on page 974 of this issue, Zhang et al. (3) embarked on a mission to discover new antifungals produced by bacteria that inhabit marine animals.

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