Alligator blood can fight HIV and may be coming to a drugstore near you in the next 5 years
Turns out Charlie Sheen had it all wrong—tiger blood is not where it's at. Alligator blood, however, could solve a whole slew of human health issues in the future.
It all began when scientists wondered why alligators so rarely have infected wounds despite their many violent fights over territory and mates in swampy, bacteria-ridden environments. This led them to run tests on the animals' blood. Chemists in Louisiana discovered that while humans can fight against 8 strains of bacteria, alligators can destroy 23 strains, including strains known to be resistant to antibiotics. It can also destroy a significant amount of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
One of the co-authors of the study, Lancia Darville from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, explains that peptides or strands of protein in alligators' blood helps them stave off infections. Darville explains, "Once we sequence these peptides, we can obtain their chemical structure to potentially [create new] drugs."
Despite potential problems such as the fact that higher concentrations of the alligator serum can prove toxic to human cells, the study team of scientists and biochemists believes that pills and creams containing safe levels of the alligator peptides could be on shelves at local pharmacies and drugstores within the next five years. These products would be especially useful for burn victims and those who suffer from auto-immune diseases.