Apr 20, 2017 06:55 PM EDT
The most common treatment for a bacterial infection is antibiotics. However, for every antibiotic treatment, there is an increased chance that the bacteria in the body would develop resistance to the antibiotic. As a result of antibiotic resistance, patients would need higher doses of the medicine. The medical world is in constant search for the answer to the continuous problem of antibiotic resistance. That search led our medical scientists to the Komodo Dragon, (Varanus komodoensis).
The Komodo dragon became one of the subjects of these studies in search of the solution to antibiotic resistance because of the following facts: Komodo dragons have existed for millions of years despite the severe climate in five small islands of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Research shows that the saliva of the Komodo dragon has 57 species of deadly bacteria which it uses to stun its prey. The Komodo Dragon is not negatively affected by the deadly bacteria in its mouth. It appears that its body has developed a self-produced antibiotic. A Komodo dragon's wound heals fast after being bitten by other Komodo dragons, as reported by Natural News.
In a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, scientists report their findings that the protein fragments taken from the blood of a Komodo dragon have exhibited antimicrobial properties that help them resist deadly infections. A team from George Mason University took blood from Komodo dragons and analyzed it to see if they could find traces of what is called cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs). Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are inherently made by all living matter in the immune system.
Using an approach called bioprospecting, they incubated Komodo dragon blood with negatively charged hydrogel particles that they developed to capture the peptides that are positively charged. With this method, the researchers were then able to identify and sequence 48 potential CAMPs using mass spectrometry, Science Alert reports.
It was found that only one was not derived from histone proteins, which are known to have antimicrobial activities. Eight of the 48 potential CAMPs were tested against two bacterial strains, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Seven of the peptides showed significant potency while the eighth peptide was only effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The researchers concluded that Komodo dragon blood contains antimicrobial peptides that could help develop new treatments to combat infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.