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Sea sponges might hold a clue

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

New research suggests an Australian sea sponge could hold the key to successfully combating the deadly disease tuberculosis.

The Centenary Institute and University of Sydney study has found sponge samples from the Great Barrier Reef contained a potent anti-bacterial agent that inhibited the bacteria that caused TB.

Lead author, Dr Diana Quan Lee, said the finding had the potential to open up a new avenue of research.

"It's something that's quite hard on patients as it takes six to 12 months to treat so what we're really doing is looking for a way to shorten and simplify treatment and any new classes of compounds are quite exciting starts for that kind of work."

Dr Quan Lee is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control. She is based at The Centenary Institute.

(This story was broadcast on ABC Radio on 9 October 2019.)

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