Researchers Discover Breast Milk Contains Antibiotic That Kills Drug Resistant Bacteria
A new discovery could be the answer to destroying drug-resistant bacteria in humans. In a recent study, researchers found the presence of a protein in breast milk that has the capacity to kill fungi, bacteria, and even viruses.
A research group from the National Physical Laboratory and the University College London found that the protein lactoferrin is the antibiotic in breastmilk that makes newborn babies healthy. They were able to make use of the protein to target a specific type of bacteria without causing injury to other cells.
According to a report by The British Journal, although this protein has already been known in the medical field since the 60s, the study conducted was still a major breakthrough. It was the first time that the protein was used to react to a particular bacteria, thereby making it viable to fight diseases.
Hasan Alkassem, one of the researchers, said that the study was done at a very delicate microscopic level, which gave the team a lot of difficulties in the process. They were able to isolate and re-engineer the protein and turn it into a "virus-like" capsule which could wipe out bacteria without harming the human host.
The results of the study were very promising as the proteins were able to target bacteria and viruses with much efficiency. The Guardian has reported that the capsules may lead to the production of treatments for diseases considered to be incurable. Some of the targeted diseases include cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell disease.
The study was conducted in the face of many drug-resistant bacteria, which was dubbed as superbugs. These superbugs would be costing 10 million lives worldwide by 2050 if it would remain unchecked.
Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for the U.K. said that, "We need on average 10 new antibiotics every decade. If others do not work with us, it's not something we can sort on our own." She further added that it is a worldwide problem but the "science is crackable."
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