Tasmanian Devil’s Milk Might Hold The Cure For Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
Researchers in the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs have found an unlikely weapon–one that may leave some feeling as if they’ve stepped into an old Warner Brothers cartoon: Tasmanian Devil’s milk.
The Australian research group has found that peptides in the milk of the marsupials have the capability of killing off some of the most deadly and challenging bacterial and viral infections we face today.
But don’t worry: factory farms housing thousands of Tasmanian devils with row upon row of the hapless creatures hooked up to tiny milking machines are not on the horizon.
The researchers from Sydney University scanned the devil’s genome and found six promising antimicrobial peptides which they used as templates to begin creating synthetic versions.
What led them down this decidedly weird road was the fact that Tasmanian devils are born after only 21 days of gestation and are thus very underdeveloped. It has long been conjectured that the mother’s milk must play a key role in conferring onto the newborns the ability to fight off disease and survive to adulthood, given how vulnerable they are at birth.
But that was all strictly theoretical–until now. The researchers were as pleasantly surprised as anyone when they found their theories vindicated by subsequent lab tests following three years of developing the study.
“It was really exciting, said researcher and PhD candidate Emma Peel in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. “We showed that these devil peptides kill multi-drug resistant bacteria, which is really cool.”
“Really cool” is perhaps the understatement of the year.
That’s because we’re not talking about battling the sniffles or a sore throat: the peptides were shown to be deadly even to methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the scourge of hospitals treating long-term patients who are immuno-compromised. The devil peptides even worked on the bacteria enterococcus, which is resistant to one of the antibiotics of last resort, vancomycin.
“Vancomycin is a pretty potent antibiotic and if a bug is resistant to that, then there aren’t a lot of drug options available to you,” Peel said.
With the dangers of antimicrobial resistance becoming more alarming with each passing day–World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan called it a “…fundamental threat to human health, development and security”–the Tasmanian devil research by Peel and her team may well lead to a whole new way to fight back.
In this case, the details are in the devils.
This article (Tasmanian Devil’s Milk Might Hold The Cure For Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs) by Kurtis Bright appeared first on Natural Blaze. It can only be republished with attribution to author, article source and Natural Blaze keeping all links, bio and this message intact.