Alligators may have a reputation of being vicious predators, but the blood that runs through their veins could someday save your life, it is being reported.
A study done by researchers at McNeese State University in Louisiana suggests that proteins found in alligator blood may provide new antibiotics that could treat diabetic ulcers, severe burns and “superbugs," including MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), that are resistant to other kinds of medicine.
The proteins could also help a plethora of other ailments, said the study’s authors, such as Candida albicans yeast infections, which often appear in AIDS patients and transplant recipients, who have weakened immune systems.
"We're very excited about the potential of these alligator blood proteins as both antibacterial and antifungal agents,” said study co-author Dr. Mark Merchant, a biochemist at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La.
"There's a real possibility that you could be treated with an alligator blood product one day."
Merchant said alligators have super-strong immune systems that are very different from those of humans. Alligators can fight fungi, viruses and bacteria without prior exposure to them, the authors said.
Pills and creams could be developed and in pharmacies within the next seven to 10 years, Merchant said.
However, Merchant said the public should not try to create home remedies using alligator blood, as the consequences could be fatal if the blood is contaminated.
The findings were recently reported at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.