Alligator Blood Shown To Have HIV Killing Proteins
The future of medicine shows much promise, and some of the reasons for this optimism comes from the most unexpected places, like alligator blood
A team of scientists have found that proteins within alligator blood have fantastic infection fighting and virus killing properties, properties they hope can be applied to curing some of the world’s harshest diseases.
The studies have been made public at the American Chemical Society’s meeting in New Orleans.
The incredible immune system of alligators has been well recorded and researched, however recent studies have shown that certain proteins within the blood could be the basis of tomorrow’s medical products.
An alligator’s immune system has evolved to deal with a lot of damage considering the numerous and vicious territorial fights it has to deal with throughout its life.
The wounds suffered in these fights coupled with their natural environment which is filled with infection sources has made the reptile's immune system extremely efficient in dealing with viruses, bacteria and fungi without ever being exposed to them.
The immune response is very aggressive thus destroying most of the microorganisms that could potentially infect them and that humans are extremely vulnerable to.
Mark Merchant, the study’s lead researcher has teamed up with Kermit Murray and Lancia Darville, both chemists in an effort to extract and study blood samples from alligators. They have successfully isolated the leucocytes or the white blood cells that fight infections and viruses and are trying to find the amino acid chains called antibiotic peptides.
These antibiotic peptides are the reason behind the extremely efficient immune system found in alligators and if identified correctly can lead to a whole new generation of fungal, viral and bacterial drugs that could solve a lot of medicine’s biggest problems.
Studies of the antibiotic peptides and white blood cells have shown that they are extremely efficient when dealing with the HIV virus, destroying most of the virus cells they came in contact with. Extensive research has also shown that the antibiotic peptides can destroy the Herpes simplex virus, and fungal infections like Yeast infections.
However the drugs aren't there yet as these extremely efficient antibiotic peptides are proving to be quite difficult to adapt for clinical use.
The increased toxicity along with their antimicrobial action can cause unstable reactions with the human organism, so the whole process is going to be lengthy and quite difficult.
Mark Merchant also added that despite the difficulties, products derived from alligator blood could be on shelves in close to ten years, especially ointments used for burn victims, as they can be extremely efficient in preventing infections until the body heals.