Komodo dragon blood produces new antibiotic compound

Researchers used a molecule with antimicrobial properties detected in the blood of Komodo dragons to create a synthetic compound that expedites the healing process of infected wounds in mice, according to a study published in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.

The Komodo dragon is a reptile found in Indonesia. It carries more than 80 bacterial strains in its mouth. Some of these bacteria are known to cause problematic infections like sepsis. However, the animals are not harmed by the bacteria, suggesting immunity, according to the BBC.

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After identifying an antimicrobial peptide in the blood of the reptile, researchers developed a synthetic compound based upon the molecule. The synthetic compound — dubbed DRGN-1 — was able to permeate the bacterial membranes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus when treating wounds in mice infected with both bacterial strains. Infected wounds treated with DRGN-1 healed at a significantly faster rate than wounds not treated with the synthetic molecular derivative.

"Our results showed that our short synthetic peptide DRGN-1 significantly inhibited biofilms of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus separately, as well as in mixed biofilms," wrote the study's authors. "Since the formation of biofilm protects bacteria during infection and allows for survival in a hostile environment, the inhibition of biofilm formation by DRGN-1 in a wound may serve as an additional mechanism to prevent bacterial survival in the host and promote healing."

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