Monday, April 7, 2008

Alligators, Potential Lifesavers?

Now I know this sounds weird, an alligator, the close relative of the Aussie Crocidile, saving lives but it could be a possibilty! No the alligators aren't going to save you from drowning, rather they would more likly prefer to take a bit out of you. According to Louisiana biochemists, proteins in gator blood may provide a source from which potent antibiotics and antifungal medications can be derived from.

According to Mark Merchant, Kermit Murray and Lancia Darville, the chemical stuctures in the the proteins from alligator blood could be used to treat many different afflictions such as "diabetic ulcers, severe burns, and “superbugs” that are resistant to conventional medication" and "six out of eight different strains of Candida albicans" which is a problem that faces people who have weak immune systems such as AIDS suffers and transplant recipients.

Previous studies have shown that gators have a much stronger immune system then human, thought to be due to the fact that gators fighting so much and recieving injurys that they have evolved to handle fungi, viruses, and bacteria without having prior exposure to them. This led to the examination of their white blood cells and the extraction of the key proteins.

At present Merchant and his colleagues are trying to isolate the chemical structures from the proteins that are the key to the fighting the microbes. So in the next 7 to 10 years you may be seeing Alligator blood medications hit the market. In the mean time I would reconmend that no one out there decides to be smart and inject themselves with gator blood as it would most likly make you very sick if not kill you. Also I am sure that the alligator who's blood you have taken would not appreciate it very much.

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By Anthony Rawkins (Student No. 41751136)

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