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article imageBreast milk protein may be able to destroy superbugs

By Owen Weldon     Jan 23, 2016 in Health
Scientists in the UK have said there is a part of a protein in breast milk that may be able to destroy certain types of bacteria that are resistant to drugs.
The National Physical Laboratory and University College London's study found that bacteria, fungi and viruses can be destroyed by lactoferrin.
There are hopes that this discovery can be used to help fight antibiotic resistance, as well as tackle diseases that are not curable.
The fragment is what provides the protein with its anti-microbial properties.
The discovery comes just as the UK government created a panel to take on the issue of antibiotic-resistant bugs, which kill more than 600,000 people around the world every single year, and around 10,000 people in Britain per year.
Lactoferrin works very fast and it has the capability to rip apart bacteria in under a second, and this is why there are hopes that superbugs won't have time to become resistant to it.
Biologists have known about this protein since the 60s, but this is the first study to zero in on the element of the protein that is concerned with fighting disease.
The researchers isolated the protein and then they engineered it into a form that could nuke viruses and bacteria, all without causing damage to the human host cells.
Biologists worked the protein into a virus-like form which was created to recognize specific virulent bacteria and then target it.
Hasan Alkassem, one of the contributors to the project, said that his team monitored the capsules' activity in real-time and then they created a high-speed measurement platform by using atomic force microscopy.
Alkassem said the challenge was to follow the capsules' attack on bacterial membranes. He said that the results revealed that the capsules acted as projectiles porating the membranes at high speeds and with efficiency.
As of right now, doctors aren't going to be writing out prescriptions for lactoferrin. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done before that happens.
More about Breast milk, Protein, breast milk protein, Superbugs
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