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Protein From Komodo Dragon Blood Can Aid Wound Healing [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 09:58 AM EDT

It is widely known that the saliva of the Komodo dragon contains very toxic substances and bacteria that can cause sepsis but somehow does not affect the lizard. So a team of scientists sought to find out if there is a compound in the Komodo dragon blood that enables it to fend off poisoning from its own toxins.

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodensis) is the largest monitor lizard and is endemic to five Indonesian islands. The lizard's mouth has been interesting to scientists because it harbors over 80 strains of bacteria without any adverse reaction to them, suggesting that the Komodo dragon's immunity to the secreted toxins. The scientists were able to isolate a peptide from the Komodo dragon blood which had antimicrobial property and worked well against two antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, BBC reported.

Researchers Monique Van Hoek and Barney Bishop from George Mason University obtained the Komodo dragon blood from captive lizards in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in the state of Florida. The researchers found a number of compounds that had antimicrobial capabilities, but they took exception for a protein called VK25. The peptide was able to promote healing, kill bacteria, and take care of the biofilms, Popular Science reported. Biofilms are of clumps of bacteria that are very resistant to antibiotics.

They tweaked VK25 and created a more effective synthetic version of the protein called DRGN-1. The DGRN-1 was very effective in clearing away the biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa that commonly infect skin wounds. They tested the effectiveness of the DRGN-1 on wounds of laboratory mice that had biofilms of these bacteria. The wounds that had been treated with the DRGN-1 had significantly less bacteria present after a few days and healed completely at a faster rate than those which were treated with VK25 and LL-37, an antibacterial compound found in humans.

The researchers hope that they will be able to scale up the study as they were already able to prove that the DRGN-1 is effective and non-toxic. They believe that the peptide can be added to topical medicines that can treat infections.

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