Using sweat to fight superbugs, TB
Scientists have long been impressed by the body's abilities to fend off viruses, fungus and bacteria. Now they may have found at least part of an explanation. New research notes that a protein in the skin – Dermcidin – fights off bacteria as it tries to attack cells. Activated during sweating, Dermcidin is being used to develop antibiotics that could be used to help fight hospital superbugs and deadly strains of tuberculosis.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Scotland, France, Germany and Spain collaborated in researching how the body's natural defenses could be applied to other settings, including fighting off a variety of viruses, fungi and bacteria all at once. This adaptability, the researchers say, is a key element in creating a versatile antibiotic capable of addressing multiple potential attackers.
That said, the doctors have not yet developed an antibiotic that can fight MRSA and TB simultaneously. Instead, they were able to identify the characteristics that may lead to such a product. Still, this is seen as a big step in spurring a new wave of biological medicine that help fight deadly infections.