Cockroaches, the creepy critters reviled for invading kitchens the country over, might be modern medicine’s best option for fending off dangerous, drug-resistant bacterial infections.
British researchers at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science are behind the discovery, which entails harnessing molecules from the tissues of cockroaches and locusts to combat bacteria like E. coli and MRSA (drug-resistant staph infections).
“Superbugs … have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases,” Dr. Naveed Khan, who supervised the work of lead researcher Simon Lee, said in a press release. “Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel anti-microbials to confront this menace.”
In a twist that’s an ironic upside to our own revulsion for roaches, it’s their “unsanitary and unhygienic environments,” Lee speculated, that spurred the critters to develop toxins against the bacteria.
After this initial success, the same U.K. team is testing the cockroach-derived toxins against other harmful “superbugs” that are increasingly resistant to existing pharmaceuticals. Indeed, the finding comes as the need for new anti-microbials is increasing. Health experts continue to warn that bacterial infections will soon be entirely resistant to current modes of treatment.
“This community, by and large, lacks the resources to move a candidate antimicrobial drug all the way from preclinical testing through advanced development,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in April. “We desperately need to develop new classes of drugs to ensure that we have viable treatment options.”
( AOL )