The Future of HIV Treatment: Alligators

| 4/14/2008 11:11:50 AM

AligatorThe best medicine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may lie in the blood stream of one of the most ancient animal species on the planet: alligators.

Due to millions of years of fighting and wound infliction in harmful microbe-ridden environments, alligators have developed powerful immune systems enabling fast recovery with no infection. Researchers at McNeese State University in Louisiana have extracted active proteins from the reptile's white blood cells that have been found to kill a host of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, reports Cosmos Magazine. The potent antibiotic peptides in these blood cells were exceptionally effective against HIV, destroying most of the virus upon exposure.

Although there are still plenty of challenges in developing medicines from alligator blood (the peptides are potentially toxic to humans), there is a chance that some derivative of the reptile’s blood could wind up on pharmacy shelves in about ten years.

Erik Helin

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