Courtesy Bill SwindamanHave you ever wondered why you never see alligators in the waiting room at the clinic?
For one thing, alligators have really bad medical insurance. But the bigger reason they stay so healthy is in their blood. New research has shown that alligator blood can kill off 23 different strains of bacteria. In effect, the gators have antibiotics in their blood.
Researchers started looking into alligator blood after noticing that the creatures rarely get infections despite all the wounds they suffer in their violent lives.
Why does any of this matter to us? The discovery could have huge impacts for our health. For one thing, experiments have shown the alligator blood is able to destroy much of HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.
More specifically, alligator blood (and the blood of many other reptiles) is high in peptides, which are fragments of proteins). Learning more about these peptides could lead to the creation of medicines we’d be able to use to fight off strong viruses like HIV.
Don’t worry. You won’t be getting any transfusions of alligator blood the next time you’re at the hospital. Researchers estimate that pills or creams with the peptides that are also present in alligator blood might be ready for the human marketplace within the next seven years.