Feeds

Crocodile blood fights HIV

Oz boffins moot AIDS-busting extract

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Australian scientists have discovered that crocodiles - as well as boasting a fine set of teeth and a nice line in drowning and subsequently consuming buffalo - have a highly robust immune system capable of seeing off some penicillin-resistant bacteria.

Crocs in Oz's Northern Territories need it, too, says US boffin Mark Merchant. He's been collecting crocodile blood with a view to its potential therapeutic properties, and told Reuters: "[Crocodiles] tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally almost always without infection."

Among the nasties which come to grief in the croc's system are penicillin-mocking Staphylococcus aureus. HIV, too, has a hard time of it, as Adam Britton of Darwin's Crocodylus Park, explains: "If you take a test tube of HIV and add crocodile serum it will have a greater effect than human serum. It can kill a much greater number of HIV viral organisms."

Warming to the theme, Britton enthuses: "The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger."

Those readers wondering just how Merchant and Britton extract the blood from crocs without indulging in the zoological equivalent of putting a gun to their own heads and pulling the trigger, should note that crocodiles have a large vein behind the head - called a sinus - from which it's a simple matter of slurping out the vital essence with a big needle. After, of course, strapping the jaws shut...

Merchant and Britton hope one day to use croc serum to produce antibiotics for human use, although they admit it may currently be a bit too strong for our feeble bodies. Merchant concludes: "There is a lot of work to be done. It may take years before we can get to the stage where we have something to market." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?