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‘Fijimycin’ derived from marine bacterium

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, August 13, 2009) – A new drug has been discovered by a group of scientists at the University of the South Pacific.

It is believed that this is a new discovery for science.

"The University of the South Pacific’s, Institute of Applied Sciences Natural Products Unit has another new discovery, a cyclic polypeptide (six amino acids attached in a ring)," a USP statement said. "This was produced by a marine bacterium grown from a sediment sample collected from the Nasese area of Suva.

"The chemical is new to science and very powerful in killing "resistant" bacteria that most current antibiotics cannot kill. These bacteria are especially dangerous in hospitals where wounded people can be affected."

Medicines from marine bacteria are especially attractive as many are new and a large amount of the chemical can be grown by the fermentation method.

"Having a large amount of this new chemical, called Fijimycin, has allowed tests to show it is safe when fed to lab mice," the USP statement said. However, a portion of proceeds from any sale of the drug or commercial use is payable to the State and related marine research.

"This chemical has the potential for patenting and drug development. Under the agreement with the Fiji government, any commercial benefits are shared with the government and used for marine management activities," the USP statement added.

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