Tasmaian Devil’s Milk Might Be The Cure For Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs: Yes, This Is Actually A Thing
If you’ve been a fan of natural health for any length of time, you’ve likely seen some weird things.
Because let’s face it: not all “natural” cures are created equal. For every cannabidiol being used to treat epilepsy, or melatonin as a sleep aid, there’s someone doing the 21st century equivalent of washing their face in the blood of a virgin to stay young-looking.
So even if you have a pretty solid understanding that Big Pharma’s cures are often not as appealing as they make them sound, and thus have a healthy enthusiasm for seeking alternatives, you still have to have a healthy skepticism.
Call it being skeptical even about the skeptics.
That’s why when the story about Tasmanian Devil’s milk possibly being a cure for the massive global antibiotic overdose we’ve been riding out for the past fifty years or so, needless to say a few eyebrows were raised.
Images of some super-macho, outback Tasmanian Devil ranchers milking the bitey little beasts spring to mind, making the whole thing seem too ludicrous to countenance. However, researchers in Australia seem to found peptides in the milk of the marsupials that have the capability of killing off some of the most deadly and challenging bacterial and viral infections we face today.
The researchers from Sydney University, having scanned the devil’s genome and found six promising antimicrobial peptides, began working toward creating synthetic versions of them, and then testing them on some of the worst bacteria we encounter today.
What led them down this decidedly weird road was the fact that Tasmanian devils are born very underdeveloped, after only 21 days of gestation. And so it has long been thought that the mother’s milk must play a large role in conferring on the newborns the ability to fight off disease and survive to adulthood.
Still, the vindication for their hypothesis went down as smooth as…well, mother’s milk.
“It was really exciting, said PhD candidate Emma Peel in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. “We showed that these devil peptides kill multi-drug resistant bacteria, which is really cool.”
What’s really exciting is that among the foul dinner salad of bacteria the peptides were shown to be capable of killing was methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. It it’s the scourge of hospitals and the bane of doctors and nurses treating long-term patients who are immuno-compromised. It even worked on the bacteria enterococcus, which is resistant even to one of the antibiotics of last resort, vancomycin.
“Vancomycin is a pretty potent antibiotic and if a bug is resistant to that, then there aren’t a lot of drug options available to you,” Peel said.
Luckily, there are biologists like her around trying out the weird and the wacky–as long as no one asks us to bathe in the blood of virgins, we’re all good with her defeating superbugs.