If I say “cockroach,” most people think “Ew, gross!” But not the scientists at The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. The research they’ve recently conducted suggests that cockroaches may be able to help us fight serious infections.
It turns out that cockroach and locust brains have antibiotic properties that may be powerful enough to treat MRSA and E. coli. The study showed a 90% kill rate of both infections, just by using the antibiotic tissues of the bugs’ nervous systems and brains. The best news? There was no harm to human cells when testing this method. The researchers have found several different molecules in this tissue that are able to kill bacteria.
So, what’s the next step? Drugs, of course. According to Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher, they are hoping to find a way to turn these antibodies into treatments for those serious infections that typically don’t respond well to existing medicines. They are also running tests to see if the molecules can stand up to other superbugs like Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Burkholderia.
By now you’re probably wondering just who thinks this stuff up? What would ever move somebody to see if bug guts can kill things like E. coli? Dr. Naveed Khan, an Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology who oversees Lee’s work, points out that “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.”
The University of Nottingham