The Skin of Green-eyed Tree Frogs

It makes sense that some members of the animal world have their own forms of antibiotic resistance, and that some might be easy to harvest by humans, or more likely, be synthesized.


The skin of Australian Green-eyed Tree Frogs have an antimicrobial secretion that is being used to create new drugs in the war against superbugs such as Golden Staph.

Although frogs have lungs, they absorb oxygen through their skin, and for this to occur efficiently, the skin must be moist. A disadvantage of moist skin is pathogens can thrive on it, increasing the chance of infection. To counteract this, frogs secrete peptides that destroy these pathogens. The skin secretion from the green tree frog contains caerins, a group of peptides with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also contains caerulins, which have the same physiological effects as CCK-8, a digestive hormone and hunger suppressant. Several peptides from the skin secretions of the green tree frog have been found to destroy HIV without harming healthy T-cells.
[Source: Wikipedia]

It all comes down to investigating how the ingredients of the secretions interact with cell membranes – if scientists can work that out they might be able to create more viable antibiotics. The two techniques they are utilizing are X-ray scattering and a neutron reflectometer.

Superbugs are a Dire Threat: English CMO

The Chief Medical Officer of England is concerned about the rise of “superbugs”, and is calling for urgent action. Unfortunately this is about a decade too late – the damage is done.

If tough measures are not taken to restrict the use of antibiotics and no new ones are discovered, said Dame Sally Davies, “we will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century at some point”.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat,” said Davies. “If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics. And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection.

Suggested strategies include:

  • Incentives for drug companies to find new antibiotics
  • Taxing or otherwise limiting antibiotic usage
  • Encouraging reduced use in other countries, especially those where over-the-counter purchases occur

Full story at The Guardian.