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Komodo Dragons may hold the key to fighting infections

The reptiles don't seem so scary now, do they?
Petr Josek Snr / Reuters
Petr Josek Snr / Reuters
Timothy J. Seppala
Timothy J. Seppala|@timseppala|April 14, 2017 1:43 PM

Komodo Dragon blood could save your life. Curious scientists -- are there any other kind? -- recently identified a peptide in the Dragon plasma that might serve as an antibiotic. Now, a bite from a Komodo Dragon is lethal not from venom, but from bacteria in the reptile's saliva, and the Dragons don't kill each other when they get into tussles the way they do hunting prey, which suggests an immunity. So the researchers, inspired by previous work done with alligators and crocodiles, made a synthetic version of a peptide (a chain of amino acids) found in Dragon's plasma, VK25.

The hope is to use the lab-designed peptide, DRGN-1, as a topical antibiotic. "DRGN-1 exhibited promising antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties," the paper reads. "Moreover, the DRGN-1 peptide significantly promoted wound healing in vitro and in vivo, in both uninfected and mixed biofilm infected wounds."

In their experiments, the scientists saw that DRGN-1-treated sores experienced "accelerated skin wound closure and healing." What's more, it culled the amount of bacteria in the wounds of infected mice. We're likely to hear a lot more about DRGN-1 in the future as the recent experiments only tested a third of the pathogens known to infect wounds.

It's something I'm personally fully in support of. I mean, aside from going to Finland and burning down a church, healing yourself with a synthetic Komodo Dragon blood derivative is about the most metal thing you can do.

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Komodo Dragons may hold the key to fighting infections