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Panda blood could fight superbugs

An antimicrobial agent found in panda blood could help fight drug-resistant superbugs.

Baby panda smithsonianEnlarge
Meet Mei Xiang first baby cub, Tai Shan, born Born on July 9, 2005 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Giant pandas, the poster-child for wildlife conservation, may have earned itself a reason for eluding extinction.

According to the Telegraph, scientists in China have discovered that the animals produce a powerful antibiotic in their bloodstream that kills bacteria and fungi.

Dr Xiuwen Yan, who led the research at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China, hopes that the antibiotic can be used to create new treatments against drug resistant superbugs.

There are about 1,600 pandas in the wild, and attempts to increase their numbers have been fraught with financial and logistical problems. Pandas are threatened by habitat loss, a slow breeding rate and reports indicate that climate change may be diminishing the amount of Chinese bamboo – their favorite snack.

Millions of dollars are spent each year to breed pandas, and many argue that the money spent on expensive artificial insemination could be better spent on other endangered species.

The news that the bears produce antimicrobial agents that kill bacteria six times as fast as other antibiotics, could be their saving grace.

Researchers hope to develop the substance either as a new drug, or as an antiseptic for cleaning surfaces and utensils, the Telegraph reported.

animals rule More than 1 year ago
Humans don't deserve a cure for anything at the expense of animals. We always take, take, take and never give anything back. Always thinking of ourselves. Pandas wouldn't be on the endangered species list were it not for humans along with tons of other animals.
Jay More than 1 year ago
"Pandas wouldn't be on the endangered species list were it not for humans along with tons of other animals." so blame the tons of other animals, not homo sapiens...
Dd More than 1 year ago
you are right. humans are the evil of fhe world causing war, pollution, torture, killings, jelousy, power, control, dominiation and destroying the world an billion other animals including themselves. If the world would be full of pandas, how peaceful would it be ? One could go to Iraq ( mesopotamia) and there are no beheadings or people with machine guns. the world would be great.
Jay More than 1 year ago
Sacrifice yourself for the greater good then, take a human out of the equation, make the world a better place...