My first instinct around cockroaches have been to kill them with a paper towel. But apparently, their brains have antibiotic properties that might be a gold mine for drug companies.
"We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs," University of Nottingham's Simon Lee said in a statement.
The brain tissue killed off 90 percent of the E. coli and MRSA. Remarkably, the healthy human cells were left alone.
"Also, these new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects," he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital-acquired MRSA infections kill 15,000 patients a year and sicken 90,000 more.
Doctors are scrambling for drugs to knock out the infections, but their best line of defense sometimes fails against the strong superbugs.
The fact that medical tourists are picking up an antibiotic resistant gene might be just the tip of the iceberg. Some experts are warning that the end of the antibiotic era is near.
That's why looking at creatures that live in unsanitary conditions makes sense. The cockroach is evolutionarily built to survive really gross conditions.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- The fight for life against superbugs
- War against superbugs: A coating that can kill MRSA upon contact
- Using algorithms, researchers predict how bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics
- Scientists can shut down a superbug’s CPU
- Medical tourists pick up antibiotic resistant gene
Photo: thefixer/ flickr