Darwinolide: The new miracle antibiotic?

A group of researchers in Alabama and Florida have discovered a compound, isolated from the Antarctic Dendroceratid sponge (Dendrilla membranosa if you must know) which they believe could be the next miracle antibiotic.


Dendrilla membranosa

In modern medicine, too often we come across drug resistant bacteria. This phenomenon arises due to a number of factors. First, primary care physicians and specialists alike have had a long history of over-prescribing antibiotic, whether through their own misunderstanding or from increased pressure from patients (the latter can have a great toll on practitioners). This combined with patients not completing their regimen properly has led to the development of so-called “superbugs” such as MRSA and VRSA and VRE etc. which are big media buzzwords.

Currently we actually have many different avenues down which we can travel to treat complicated infections with resistant organisms. However, increasingly, we come across infections that are resistant even to our “big guns”. Enter, darwinolide. The hope is that the use of this compound as an antibiotic can help us combat resistant infections more effectively and perhaps curb the exponential growth of drug resistant organisms we have begun to encounter.


As an example, darwinolide was able to kill 98.4% of MRSA cells in one test. It’s still early, but it will be interesting to see what else can come out of our sea dwelling sponge.


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