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Cockroaches used in fight against MRSA

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Despite their unsanitary reputations, cockroaches could help scientists find a way to combat superbugs such as MRSA and E.coli, according to a UK researcher.

Tissues from the insects’ brains and nervous systems killed more than 90% of these infections without causing damage to human cells during tests at the University of Nottingham.

Postgraduate reporter Simon Lee discovered nine molecules in cockroach tissue that are toxic to bacteria and which can be used for their antibiotic properties.

His research studied specific properties of these molecules, which are now undergoing testing to see how effective they are in treating different superbugs.

Mr Lee said: “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.”

He presented his research to scientists at the Society for General Microbiology’s (SGM) autumn meeting at the University of Nottingham.

The society has said there is a high demand for alternative sources of antibiotics, as the pharmaceutical industry lacks enough financial incentive to develop new drugs.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • If the companies lack financial incentives to do their job how do they thin nurses feel?

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  • An interesting and logical piece of research - hope they get the funding to continue.

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  • Darn me! I hate to think of how many cockroaches I've killed over the years, and they were just trying to help me.
    Really, what good logic to think to use cockroaches to fight grems!

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  • Dennis l sympathise!!!

    To think that most of the cockroaches l have killed were in the hospital where l was working. Do you think l will be reported to the NMC as an unfit practitioner, for failing to see the benefits that these poor little creatures can offer in protecting patients!!

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