A2: Microbes in the News #2

In a Dragon’s Blood, Scientists Discover a Potential Antibiotic

Donald G. McNeil Jr., 4/17/17, New York Times



Summary: Scientists from George Mason University have found a substance in from the blood of a Komodo dragon that may be extremely useful with fighting germs. They recreated the substance in the lab and called it DRGN-1. Tests were done on mice with infected skin wounds for this study. This study showed the DRGN-1 could get through the membranes of bacteria, dissolve the biofilms that connect bacteria, and that it could speed up the process of wound healing.


Connections: Komodo dragons can be extremely dangerous because they kill with shock-inducing venom. However, in that same body lies a “rich source’ of potential antibiotics in their blood. This article explains that the chemical can break through the membranes of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, which shows just how powerful it could be if used correctly.


Critical Analysis: It’s amazing to see that something so potentially dangerous can also be so helpful when it comes to medicine. I found this article to be a little too short and simple because it gave no evidence to how the chemical can help infections.


Question: How does the DRGN-1 chemical fight infections and does it have any other effect on the body after the infection has healed?