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Interesting Research! Frog Bacteria May Help Cure Fungal Infection Among Humans

"For amphibians, this is a promising study because there are only four chemically described bacterial secondary metabolites that inhibit chytrid fungi" 

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Frog
The research also holds promise for frogs, as the bacteria may help defy the chytridiomycosis epidemic, a major cause of disease-related deaths among amphibians worldwide, the researchers said. Pixabay

Frog skin bacteria may help develop alternative drugs to treat fungal infections that are becoming more drug-resistant in humans, finds a study.

The study showed that Pseudomonas Cichorii — a bacteria with antifungal properties living on frog’s skins — can potentially inhibit the growth of Aspergillus Fumigatus (A. Fumigatus) — a fungus that causes invasive aspergillosis — an infectious disease — in humans with impaired immune system.

The research also holds promise for frogs, as the bacteria may help defy the chytridiomycosis epidemic, a major cause of disease-related deaths among amphibians worldwide, the researchers said.

“We are showing to the scientific community a set of possible alternative molecules to fight fungal drug resistance in humans,” said lead author Christian Martin, from the Institute for Scientific Research and High Technology Services in Panama.

frog
This research has identified an antifungal compound produced by frog skin bacteria, which may be used to control pathogenic fungi affecting humans and amphibians. Pixabay

“Although more studies are needed, our collaboration could spark interest in conservation of amphibians as a novel source of bioactive compounds in humans.

“For amphibians, this is a promising study because there are only four chemically described bacterial secondary metabolites that inhibit chytrid fungi,” Martin said.

For the study, published in Scientific Reports journal, the team travelled to the Chiriqui highlands in Panama, where the chytrid fungus, responsible for the disease chytridiomycosis, has severely affected amphibian populations.

They collected samples from seven frog species to find out what kind of skin bacteria they harboured.

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“For amphibians, this is a promising study because there are only four chemically described bacterial secondary metabolites that inhibit chytrid fungi,” Martin said. Pixabay

In the laboratory, 201 bacterial strains were retrieved from the samples and tested against A. Fumigatus, in patients having an impaired immune system.

Of these, 29 showed antifungal activity, but particularly one bacterium called Pseudomonas Cichorii showed the greatest potential to inhibit the growth of A. Fumigatus.

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“I consider that bioprospecting compounds from skin secretions or bacteria living in frog’s skins is just the beginning,” said scientist Roberto Ibanez from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City.

“This research has identified an antifungal compound produced by frog skin bacteria, which may be used to control pathogenic fungi affecting humans and amphibians. More research will be required to determine its potential medicinal use,” Ibanez said. (IANS)

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Skin Cream Used To Treat Warts, Skin Cancer May Help in Fighting Against Dengue, Zika Viruses

By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a 'silver bullet' for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases

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Cream
A study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases. Pixabay

A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study.

The cream, called imiquimod or Aldara, is commonly used to treat genital warts and some forms of skin cancer.

“This study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases,” said study lead author Clive McKimmie, from the University of Leeds in UK.

For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers studied four types of virus transmitted by mosquitos and found that applying a cream within an hour of a mosquito bite dramatically reduced infection rates in their models.

They used two different models to understand the effect of the skin cream – human skin samples and mice. In both cases, applying the skin cream acted like a warning signal which caused a rapid activation of the skin’s immune response that fights any potential viral threats. This prevented the virus from spreading around the body and causing disease.

“What is especially encouraging about our results is that the cream was effective against a number of distinct viruses, without needing to be targeted to one particular virus,” McKimmie said. “If this strategy can be developed into a treatment option then we might be able to use it to tackle a wide range of new emerging diseases that we have not yet encountered,” McKimmie added.

There are hundreds of viruses spread by biting mosquitoes which can infect humans. These include the dengue virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which have all had large outbreaks in recent years. At present, there are no anti-viral medicines and few vaccines to help combat these infections.

According to the researchers, when a mosquito bites the skin, the body reacts in a very specific way to try and mitigate the physical trauma of the skin being punctured. The bite causes a wound healing repair mechanism to begin, however, the skin does not prepare itself to respond to viral attack. This means mosquito-borne viruses that enter the skin through a bite are able to replicate quickly with little anti-viral response in the skin and then spread throughout the body, the study said.

Cream, Lotion, Hands, Sunscreen, Spa, Skin, Wellness
A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study. Pixabay

By applying skin cream after a bite, researchers found that they could pre-emptively activate the immune system’s inflammatory response before the virus becomes a problem. The cream encouraged a type of immune cell in the skin, called a macrophage, to suddenly spring into action to fight off the virus before it could spread around the body.

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“By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a ‘silver bullet’ for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases,” said study co-author Steven Bryden. (IANS)