Researchers at the University of Nottingham's School of Veterinary Medicine and Science say that cockroaches could be beneficial to health. They could be used to help develop new antibiotic treatments.
Details of the research has been published on the University of Nottingham website. Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher and Dr. Naveed Khan, an Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology carried out the study.
They found that the brains of cockroaches and locusts are a source of powerful antibiotics. The research could be used to create some new treatments for bacterial infections which have so far proved to be drug resistant. It was discovered that tissues taken from the brains and nervous system of the insects killed off over 90% of MRSA infections and E.coli.
The study discovered nine molecules in the tissues of the insects that were shown to be toxic to bacteria. Simon Lee will give a presentation of the work at a meeting to be held at the University of Nottingham between the 6 -9 September.
In a press release Simon Lee said:
“We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs. These new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects.”
A study is underway at the university to test the molecules discovered within the tissues of these insects to see if they will be effective against newer superbugs such as Acinetobacter and Burkholderia.
Dr Naveed Khan said:
"Superbugs such as MRSA have developed resistance against the chemotherapeutic artillery that we throw at them. They have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections, and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases. Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel antimicrobials to confront this menace.”