Science & Technology
Could pandas help us to tackle superbugs ?
December 31, 2012 | 10 comments
Image Credit: Fernando Revilla
Scientists have discovered that Giant Pandas could be a rich new source of antibiotic medications.
[!gad]Efforts have been underway for years to save pandas from extinction, with only 1600 of them left in the wild it may not be long before the species survives only in captivity. But now there may be yet another reason to keep these beautiful animals from disappearing - a powerful new antibiotic substance has been found in their blood stream that is very effective at killing bacteria and fungi. Known as cathelicidin-AM, the compound could be the key to developing powerful new antibiotics that can tackle superbugs in humans.
"Under the pressure of increasing microorganisms with drug resistance against conventional antibiotics, there is urgent need to develop new type of antimicrobial agents," said Dr Xiuwen Yan who lead the research. "Gene-encoded antimicrobial peptides play an important role in innate immunity against noxious microorganisms. They cause much less drug resistance of microbes than conventional antibiotics."
Their endangered status and distinctive, cuddly appearance has turned them into the poster-child of wildlife conservation, but now there may be a new reason to save the giant panda from extinction.
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