Microbes in the news: The gift of Dragons

Link: (bbc.co.uk)

Synopsis: Komodo Dragons’ saliva has a rich and varied microbiota which has been studied for different aspects in the past. Now the question being asked is: Why don’t they get infections more often? Short answer, antimicrobial compounds in their blood that encourage tissue healing as well. Researchers at George Washington University have isolated a compound by the name of DRGN-1 which appears to have antimicrobial activity, break up biofilms, and recruit dermal cells to heal wounds in mice. It was tested on Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and P. areuginosa and showed benefits in both infections.

Critical thinking: While this is exciting for the same reason I listed in number 2 (non-antibiotic ways to deal with infections), I don’t know how soon we’ll be seeing this sort of technology in humans. The compound was modified from dragons to work in mice and would need to be further modified to work properly in humans.

Connections: Besides antibiotics and antimicrobials as discussed previously, there is the issue of innate resistance, which this compound seems to be part of which we discussed on Monday. I think this is part of the host resistance as it helps regenerate wounds and keep microbes at bay.

Question: Does this seem plausible to use, say in hospitals, and if so, how long before it becomes plausible to use?

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