May sound like something from a sci-fi film, but new research suggests that a new antibiotic could be developed from Komodo dragon’s blood to help with deaths around drug-resistant illnesses. The study stems from George Mason University, School of Systems Biology in Manassas, VA.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a minimum of two million individuals every year in America are infected by drug-resistant bacteria, where 23,000 die due to this threat. One of the largest threats when it comes to bacteria? The Clostridium difficile, that infects about 250,000 individuals and results in 14,000 deaths yearly.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that we are on the edge of a “post-antibiotic” time period, therefore the need to find new medicines to battle drug-resistant illnesses is becoming greater and greater.
This new study, co-led by Monique van Hoek dove into the idea that Komodo dragon’s blood may be the solution to this ever-growing issue.
As some may already be familiar, the Komodo dragon a part of the lizard family and located in Indonesia on five different islands: Komodo, Padar, Rinca, Flores, as well as Gili Motang.
Still, as per van Hoek and her study team, the creature rarely gets sick, even though it consumes decaying flesh and has saliva with an abundance of damaging bacteria within it.
Why are these lizards immune to illness? The team notes that it is due to peptide within their blood, referred to it as VK25; the team gathered a sample of this from a Komodo dragon located in a zoological park in the state of Florida.
Medical News Today advised that after looking closely at the peptide, the study team realized the sample had slight antimicrobial elements, which possess the ability to stop biofilms; microorganism that stay together in order to protect and thrive themselves.
The team was able to re-organize two amino acids within the VK25, hoping to increase its effectiveness. This then created a new and synthetic form of the peptide, which they call DRGN-1; it is not the lizard’s organic peptide, rather it had been changed to make it stronger when it comes to stability and potency.
The next step? Well the researchers used mice to test DRGN-1. The rodents had wounds on them that were infected with two strains of bacteria that were antibiotic-resistant. The synthesized peptide was able to battle and rid the biofilm within the wounds on the mice, destroying the two strains. This essentially allowed for a quicker process around healing.
With the success of this test, the team hopes to test DRGN-1 in the near future as a product for animals when it comes to wound-healing. They also hope that the new peptide can be used for human illness, at some point down the road.