Scientists Find New Ways to Fight Superbugs
Treatment-resistant infections are a growing health concern worldwide. According to a recent review, “superbugs” could cause one death every three seconds by 2050, unless urgent action is taken. A research team in Australia may have found the answer: Tasmanian devil milk.
Tasmanian devils are marsupials found on the island of Tasmania. According to researchers, Tasmanian devil milk contain peptides that can kill drug-resistant bacteria—including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Scientists are now trying to develop treatments that mimic these peptides—infection-fighting substances called cathelicidins.
The milk of other marsupials, including wallabies and opossums, also contains these compounds—perhaps to strengthen their young, who live and thrive in an unclean environment, quickly. To date, one synthetic peptide developed by scientists—called Saha-CATH5—has shown promise against MRSA and other drug-resistant microbes.
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