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Never Smile At A Crocodile -- Unless It's Healing Your Infection

Crocodiles have immune systems far stronger than the one in human beings. Evolutionarily, it's not a surprise: crocs engage in deadly territorial battles leaving participants covered in wounds (and often missing limbs) -- all the while in environmental conditions filled with some pretty nasty pathogens. And yet crocodiles rarely suffer from infection; it turns out that the crocodile immune system literally tears apart bacteria. Now researchers working in Australia's Northern Territory are looking at ways to use crocodile immune system as an antibiotic for humans.

Initial studies of the crocodile immune system in 1998 found that several proteins (antibodies) in the reptile's blood killed bacteria that were resistant to penicillin, such as Staphylococcus aureus or golden staph, Australian scientist Adam Britton told Reuters on Tuesday. It was also a more powerful killer of the HIV virus than the human immune system. [...] "We may be able to have antibiotics that you take orally, potentially also antibiotics that you could run topically on wounds, say diabetic ulcer wounds; burn patients often have their skin infected and things like that," said [researcher Mark] Merchant.

The use of crocodilian blood as the base for a powerful experimental medicine might sound like a plot twist in an upcoming Spider-Man or Batman movie, but it comes at the right time: there are now mutated forms of staph immune to all but the most powerful (and dangerous to patients) antibiotics.

Comments (1)

Maribth Tennison:

Does anyone know where to get any crocodile pectin for bacterial/viral treatment?


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