Could candida succumb to alligator blood?

Researchers at McNeese State University and Louisiana State University have been looking at alligator blood as a possible antibiotic source as alligators can automatically fight bacteria and viruses without having been previously exposed to them.

The researchers extracted proteins known as peptides from white cells (part of its immune system) in alligator blood that they then exposed to various types of bacteria. Tiny amounts of these protein extracts killed the superbug MRSA and six out of eight strains of Candida albicans.

Dr Stuart Levy, a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, who's an expert in antibiotic-resistant infections and is familiar with the new study, said the human body might reject alligator proteins thinking they're foreign invaders. But study lead author, Lancia Darville, said scientists might be able to create drugs that copy the blood proteins once they figure out their structure although it is not easy to mimic any antimicrobial peptide for clinical use.

The study authors said alligator blood could become a drug source for humans within a decade.

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First published July 2008