Komodo dragons are one of the largest lizards living on Earth. These dragons are the closest thing to Jurassic park's dinosaurs. But while these creatures look so majestic, there's more to them than just their appearances.
This was first noticed when observers seem to wonder how they eat carrions or decaying flesh without ever getting ill. These foods are clearly riddled with bacteria that can't be fought with "normal" immune systems. So, they've analyzed the blood of which they found a wide variety of antimicrobial peptides or AMPs. This implies that, apparently, their blood can be one of our best tools to fight human diseases!
With this in mind, a different set of researchers studied not just the dragon's blood but other blood from different reptiles as well. So far, for a duration of five years, they were able to identify around 50 different AMPs from these.
Researchers said they're confident that this can soon help make better antibiotics. “Elective surgery, chemotherapy, even childbirth,” says Barney Bishop at George Mason University in Virginia, listing the possible scenarios that an antibiotic synthesised from Komodo dragon’s blood could aid.
In early 2017, the World Health organization has made a list of “priority pathogens” that is threatening to human civilization because of their resistance to antibiotics. Governments in the US and the UK warned us that if we don’t find new ways to combat drug-resistant infections, we might be facing 10 million deaths a year by 2050. Good news is, two of those 12 types of bacteria listed (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) may be treatable using dragon blood peptides, says Bishop.
But as of now, they're still trying to indicate what particular peptides are great for medicinal use. “The less the peptides have to be altered, the easier it could be to get them to market, and FDA-approved and saving lives,” Bishop says.
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