Lizard blood as a weapon to fight antibiotic resistance sounds incredible. However, a team from George Mason University published research that shows we could use the blood of lizard to annihilate superbugs. As the antibiotic resistance is one of the most critical problems of our times, these new findings could help us to destroy it.
Examined lizard is so called komodo dragon, the biggest of its species in the world. Founded on islands in Indonesia, he can grow up to 3 meters and weight up to 70 kg. Thanks to its size, he is dominant in the ecosystem in which he lives. As a carnivore, komodo mostly eat mammals, birds, and invertebrates. Also, some previous research discovered that the mouths of Komodo contain up to 57 kinds of dangerous and venomous bacteria.
Knowing all these facts scientists questioned how these lizards became resistant to having such deadly bugs in their mouths. Firstly they thought that resistance is developed thanks to its drinking from sewage-contaminated water sources. Then, researchers from George Mason University took its blood to analyzed for so-called cationic antimicrobial peptides ( CAMPs ). CAMPs are something that most of living beans have, including humans and it is an important part of the innate immune system. Still what they discovered is that komodo have 48 peptides, with 47 that are pure anathema to a wide range of bacteria.
The team managed to cleverly isolate these CAMPs and found that they are powerfully antimicrobial. To test it, scientists put them against heavy bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginous and MRSA. The results were remarkable. Seven of eight peptides effectively killed both bacteria, while the eighth were successful only against P. aeruginous.
These findings can have a great impact on our antibiotic development. Scientists fight every day to stay one step ahead of the bacteria and develop new treatments and medications that will annul antibiotic resistance. Future efforts will focus on determining whether peptides are constitutively produced or the result of pathogen detection, as well as whether this phenomenon is limited to Komodo dragons or if it occurs in other species, including humans – reports researchers from George Mason University.