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View Full Version : Crocodiles Immune System Beats HIV


access_flux
08-18-2005, 09:27 PM
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/17/0139227&tid=191&tid=14

Jeff
08-18-2005, 09:31 PM
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/17/0139227&tid=191&tid=14 (http://)
I got a "the URL is invalid and cannot be loaded" error.

access_flux
08-18-2005, 09:42 PM
dammit.

well, heres the article.





By Michael Perry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antibiotic for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune system kills the HIV virus.

The crocodile's immune system is much more powerful than that of humans, preventing life-threatening infections after savage territorial fights which often leave the animals with gaping wounds and missing limbs.

"They tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally almost always without infection," said U.S. scientist Mark Merchant, who has been taking crocodile blood samples in the Northern Territory.

Initial studies of the crocodile immune system in 1998 found that several proteins (antibodies) in the reptile's blood killed bacteria that were resistant to penicillin, such as Staphylococcus aureus or golden staph, Australian scientist Adam Britton told Reuters on Tuesday. It was also a more powerful killer of the HIV virus than the human immune system.

"If you take a test tube of HIV and add crocodile serum it will have a greater effect than human serum. It can kill a much greater number of HIV viral organisms," Britton said from Darwin's Crocodylus Park, a tourism park and research center.

Britton said the crocodile immune system worked differently from the human system by directly attacking bacteria immediately an infection occurred in the body.

"The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger," he said.

For the past 10 days Britton and Merchant have been carefully collecting blood from wild and captive crocodiles, both saltwater and freshwater species. After capturing a crocodile and strapping its powerful jaws closed the scientists extract blood from a large vein behind the head.

"It's called a sinus, right behind the head, and it's very easy just to put a needle in the back of the neck and hit this sinus and then you can take a large volume of blood very simply," said Britton.

The scientists hope to collect enough crocodile blood to isolate the powerful antibodies and eventually develop an antibiotic for use by humans.

"We may be able to have antibiotics that you take orally, potentially also antibiotics that you could run topically on wounds, say diabetic ulcer wounds; burn patients often have their skin infected and things like that," said Merchant.

However, the crocodile's immune system may be too powerful for humans and may need to be synthesized for human consumption.

"There is a lot of work to be done. It may take years before we can get to the stage where we have something to market," said Britton.

CapNColostomy
08-18-2005, 09:44 PM
Great news! So sex with a crocadile is GO!

ET Warrior
08-18-2005, 09:47 PM
Flux, if you're going to paste a link, just paste it straight into your message body, it automatically parses your URL's for you.

BongoBob
08-19-2005, 01:30 AM
Excellent news :)

TK-8252
08-19-2005, 02:09 AM
Great news! So sex with a crocadile is GO!

For some reason I think that would hurt a lot more than an STD.

...Not that I've tried it or anything.

Joetheeskimo
08-19-2005, 09:16 AM
Great news, indeed! :) I'll start raising a baby crocodile, just in case.

toms
08-19-2005, 10:34 AM
another kick in the teeth for Intelligent Design fans then... :(

Astrotoy7
08-19-2005, 11:53 AM
The scientists hope to collect enough crocodile blood to isolate the powerful antibodies and eventually develop an antibiotic for use by humans.

However, the crocodile's immune system may be too powerful for humans and may need to be synthesized for human consumption.

"There is a lot of work to be done. It may take years before we can get to the stage where we have something to market," said Britton.

FFS! If only it were so freakin easy :(

The reason this virus is such a killer is because of the damage done to the immune system by the virus... People dont die of the virus itself, they die of its complications - namely, secondary diseases/infections the body has been unable to stave off due to its immunodefiicient state. It is simply not as easy as "killing the HIV" Medication/treatment must be one that re-enables the immune system. The answer lies in genetics somewhere, but medicine isnt that far advanced yet to make that realistion an actuality....

mtfbwya

Tyrion
08-19-2005, 12:08 PM
FFS! If only it were so freakin easy :(

The reason this virus is such a killer is because of the damage done to the immune system by the virus... People dont die of the virus itself, they die of its complications - namely, secondary diseases/infections the body has been unable to stave off due to its immunodefiicient state. It is simply not as easy as "killing the HIV" Medication/treatment must be one that re-enables the immune system. The answer lies in genetics somewhere, but medicine isnt that far advanced yet to make that realistion an actuality....

mtfbwya

Well, then this would still help those who are infected with HIV but don't have AIDS yet. So that although the current AIDS users are potentially out of luck, everyone else isn't.

Astrotoy7
08-19-2005, 02:03 PM
Well, then this would still help those who are infected with HIV but don't have AIDS yet. So that although the current AIDS users are potentially out of luck, everyone else isn't.

Ty, I wish it were so. I did pathology as part of the pre-med component of my course. My cousin is a Ph.D in Pharmacology working in this exact field, so I am luckily a little familiar with some of the intricacies of it. HIV is an grouping term for a few different strains which affects different aspects of the immune system, in different parts of the body in different ways. Not only that, the damn things are mutating, making their attacks on the immune system all the more efficient, and deadly :(

Its no surprise that a crocodile has a kickass immune system, its one of the earths oldest surviving species, truly a living dinosaur. Trying to equate their physiology with ours is crazy talk, it really is !! Its like saying "if we put rocket fuel into your 1970 VW beetle, it'll be able to take you to the moon"
Those researchers in that article are more likely wanting to study what exactly makes the croc so resistant as opposed to developing a strain from super croc antibodies. Once again, it all goes back to genetics, and the physiology underlying the crocs immune system.

poor crocs tho, can you imagine if something like that actually was possible. Theyd be wiped off the face of the planet by poachers and pharamcos :(

mtfbwya

Jeff
08-19-2005, 02:16 PM
Well, this is a start. Hopefully they can figure out how to make this help people...

lukeiamyourdad
08-19-2005, 05:05 PM
poor crocs tho, can you imagine if something like that actually was possible. Theyd be wiped off the face of the planet by poachers and pharamcos :(


False. They'd actually be saved. Ever wondered why sheeps, cows and chickens aren't endangered species? Because we breed them for something. If we used crocs to get medicine from them, we would breed them and their existence wouldn't be endangered once the pharmacos take advantage of them.

Poachers wouldn't be a cost effective solution and they'd end up being breeded for their blood or something.

This is not the same with fur as it isn't morally right for the public to breed animals only for fur. The PETA wouldn't be too happy about it, but when it comes to saving lives of humans, compromises are made, even from the PETA.

acdcfanbill
08-19-2005, 07:18 PM
his is not the same with fur as it isn't morally right for the public to breed animals only for fur.not for some i guess it isnt...

El Sitherino
08-19-2005, 08:00 PM
Ever wondered why sheeps, cows and chickens aren't endangered species? Because we breed them for something.
That, and they reproduce like sheep, cows, and chickens.

<_<

Anyway, I think this is seen more as a preventative measure rather than an outright "cure" of HIV. Even still ridding the body of the HIV strand will allow for possibilities of repair. Once you're at AIDS though, you're pretty much screwed.