By Billie Rubin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center
According to an article from the Telegraph, these gentle guys’ blood may be the next big thing in antibiotics, especially for bugs that have become resistant to our usual kind.
Researchers at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China isolated the magic cathelicidin-AM, a key player in immune defense, in the panda blood and have been able to synthesize it artificially by decoding the genes that produce the compound.
It seems some animals have an edge on people: shark blood has cancer-fighting properties; dogs have some of the cathelicidin antibiotic in their saliva; and now we’ve learned that pandas produce killer antibodies. In addition to animals, we’ve got molds that can produce penicillin. In some ways, we are certainly weak in comparison!