citadrianne writes: New antibiotics are generated naturally over time by bacteria, as weapons in their ongoing chemical warfare against other microbes. Predicting where and when they can be found relies mostly on good fortune and following a hunch. Scientist Brian Murphy's hunch is that the bacteria which live on freshwater sponges could be a hive of new chemicals. "We don’t know a huge amount about these species," he said. "But the only way to find out if there’s anything there is by actually diving down there and carving them off with a knife." But even if these sponges yield the antibiotics of the future, there are seemingly endless roadblocks that prevent us from actually using them to cure disease. "We've discovered six antibiotics in the recent past," Professor William Fenical said. "Of those, three to four have serious potential as far as we know, including anthramycin. But we have no way to develop them. There are no companies in the United States that care. They're happy to sell existing antibiotics, but they're not interested in researching and developing new ones."
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