Cockroaches appear to carry a secret weapon that can protect people against deadly superbugs, new research has found.
Dr. Naveed Khan and his team tested mashed up cockroach brains against the E. coli bacteria that cause meningitis and MRSA, the staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics.
A night in a Petri dish together killed 90 percent of the bacteria, Khan told the (Toronto) Star. The insect parts had no effect on human cells, however.
“Some of these insects live in the filthiest places known to man,” he said. Because cockroaches can survive the loss of a limb, and the brains of cockroaches are the most protected parts of their bodies, researchers had decided to look there for their answers.
Tests also examined the nervous systems of locusts for superbug-fighting power, after realizing locusts were unscathed while soldiers fighting in countries such as Afghanistan were becoming infected with bacteria that resisted treatment.
Their basic analysis of the molecules in the insect brains and nervous systems revealed they are proteins and not fatty acids, a promising sign for development of antibiotics in the future. Khan and his researchers are extending their research now to see how the insect stew combats other superbugs.
Click here to read more.