Pig Molecule To Combat Superbugs

Scientists believe pigs could provide a new weapon to help fight off hospital infections, and maybe superbugs such as MRSA. They have found an anti-bacterial agent produced by the animals can help prevent skin infection in humans. The molecule - PR39 - is from a family of protective proteins called cathelicidins. The University of California at San Diego study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Tests showed that PR39 in combination with a human cathelicidin can kill streptococcal bacteria. When scientists delivered PR39 to human skin cells in the laboratory, the cells were better able to fend off infection by the bugs. Mice engineered to produce PR39 in their bodies also showed increased resistance.

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