Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bless what bites

Who would have known that those toothy ribbed critters we gingerly paddle past each year during the Everglades Challenge would now have such powers of benefit?

Now it appear that someday, an alligator might save your life.

Researchers in Louisiana say they've discovered unique antibiotic proteins in the blood of American alligators that can kill a wide range of deadly bacteria, halt the spread of common infections, and perhaps even stop HIV, which causes AIDS.

If they're right, and they're able to sequence the genetics of 'gator blood, the researchers say superdrugs based on their findings might be available within 10 years.

So far, the researchers say they've determined that the proteins found in alligator blood can fight 23 different types of bacteria, nearly three times as many as the proteins found in human blood.
At least in lab experiments, proteins extracted from 'gator blood destroyed the bacteria behind deadly staph infections, different fungi behind yeast infections, and in at least one study, most of a sample of HIV.

Apparently, alligators have developed unique immune systems during the course of their long evolution. Unlike us mere mortals, their immune systems can fight off different types of bacteria, viruses and fungi without having been previously exposed to them.


David said...

I bet they're immune to mosquito and no-see-'em bites too.

Michael said...

I wonder what a transfusion might cost? I've already got the personality, all I need is the blood to go with it! ;-)