Photo: Tony Alter (flickr)
While the study of frog-derived antibiotics is nothing new, scientists from the United Arab Emirates University are conducting the first large-scale survey of potential frog skin substances.
Already, the survey has identified 200 new substances.
That may seem like a lot, but it is likely just the beginning of many more discoveries. These scientists hope to study thousands of frog species, collected from labs around the world. They predict that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of helpful substances are yet to be found!
The Secret Weapon
These antibiotic substances are called antimicrobial peptides. These are found in many organisms (not just frogs) and help protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Antimicrobial peptides are found naturally in the body, and research shows that they are more effective in killing bacterial infections than the antibiotics you get from the pharmacy. The question is, can their destructive nature work in a negative way as well?
Results of medicine in vivo (in a living test subject) are different than the results in vitro (tests done in the lab). Therefore, more research and testing is required to ensure that these antimicrobial peptides are not only effective at targeting unwanted infection, but also safe enough to use on human subjects.
- Frog Skin Secretions Could Yield Antibiotic Bonanza (Discover)
- Frog Skin Antibiotics Show Promise Against Superbugs (SciDev)