ROACHES TO TREAT TUBERCULOSIS? HALLE-“EW”-JAH?
What comes to mind when you think of roaches? I know. Nasty.
Well according to Voices of America, this pesky, popular, germ-ridden insect could be an indirect source of new antibiotics or humans.
How, you ask?
Well according to insect scientists, cockroaches host the larvae of a parasitic type of wasp, which spends its days eating the bacteria-filled body of the roach from the inside out.
At some point, researchers discovered that the wasp larva produces chemicals that sanitize the gut of the cockroach; and that these germ-killing chemicals could eventually be developed for human use.
Here’s how it works:
As the wasp larva munches its way through the microbe-laden body of the roach, it produces generous amounts of clear liquid. This liquid, discovered by biologist Gudrun Herzner and her team at the University of Regensburg in Germany, is said to contain a blend of antimicrobial substances that fight the germs that cause…
- Various viruses including hepatitis C
Herzner says this is the first time researchers have found insects using this chemical against microbes; but it’s probably not the last insect antimicrobial discovery.
Most antibiotics that doctors use have been discovered among microbes living in the soil, but if researchers turn to the insect world, the medical field will have a whole new source of antibiotics. Antimicrobials have been discovered everywhere from frog skin to panda blood, but none of them have made it to the medicine cabinet yet.
Microbiologist Julian Davies, at the University of British Columbia says it can be hard to isolate useful quantities of the active chemicals in these sources, and they may be difficult chemicals to produce in the lab.
“Nothing’s come out of it yet,” says Davis, “but they’re certainly looking at it.”