The Tasmanian devil could be an unlikely new hero in the fight against some of the world’s most deadly superbugs.
Sydney University researchers have discovered that milk from the Tasmanian devil contains some astonishing properties that could effectively create a weapon for killing the bacteria.
Superbugs are essentially bacteria which have mutated to become immune or highly resistant to the antibiotics that we would normally use to treat them.
It turns out that the milk contains some peptides that are capable of killing a range of fungal and bacterial infections that have until now, proven unstoppable against even our strongest antibiotics.
The peptides contain a family of antimicrobials called cathelicidins which essentially work as a natural form of antibiotics. Tasmanian devils have six different varieties of these peptides, as opposed to the one that humans have.
The researchers tested the milk’s peptides against some of the worst superbugs including the flesh-eating bacteria golden staph and found the results extremely promising.
In addition to the Tasmanian devil, the researchers are now expanding their study to include other Australian marsupials. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they’ve already found some promising results from koala milk.
Superbugs continue to be one of the fastest-growing medical problems as casual antibiotic use remains worryingly high.
The more we overprescribe antibiotics, the easier it becomes for bacteria to mutate, developing a resistance to the medications we use every day.
In an attempt to try and stem the rise of the superbugs medical researchers have been looking all over the world for new antimicrobials that could create the next generation of antibiotics.