Cockroaches Could Help Kill MRSA, E. coli

Cockroaches

Cockroaches may actually be good for something. Experts at University of Nottingham discovered that tissues of cockroaches and locusts contain molecules that can kill certain bacteria, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

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Cockroaches may actually be good for something. Experts at University of Nottingham discovered that tissues of cockroaches and locusts contain molecules that can kill certain bacteria, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

They seem like strange bedfellows: insects associated with filth being used to possibly treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Yet scientists have identified up to nine different factors in these creatures that are toxic to bacteria that can be deadly to humans.

MRSA and E. coli
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a type of staph bacteria that can resist antibiotics known as beta-lactams. These include methicillin as well as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, serious MRSA infections, which most often occur as skin infections, developed in about 95,000 people in 2005, and nearly 20,000 people died during a hospital stay related to a MRSA infection. About 85 percent of all invasive MRSA infections are associated with exposure to healthcare, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities. Most MRSA infections occur in people older than 65.

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In recent years, however, the number of children hospitalized with MRSA has risen tenfold. Most of the infections were caught in the community rather than in a hospital.

E. coli are bacteria commonly found in the lower intestinal tract of humans and other mammals. Most strains of E.coli are harmless, but some, including O157:H7, is associated with serious food poisoning and is often the focus of food recalls. This serotype of E. coli can cause death, especially in affected infants, the elderly, and people who are immunocompromised.

New Cockroach study shows tissues found in their brains have ability to kill MRSA and E. coli.

Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher, and his team discovered that the brain and nervous system tissues of cockroaches and locusts contain molecules able to kill more than 90 percent of MRSA and E. coli bacteria without damaging human cells. This finding may mean “these new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects,” according to Lee.

If you are surprised that insects such as cockroaches could have the ability to produce potent antibacterials, Lee is not. He noted that “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments,” and therefore it is “logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against microorganisms.”

For now, scientists are continuing to study the antibacterial molecules in cockroaches. “We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections,” says Lee.

SOURCES:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
University of Nottingham news release

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Comments

I find this very interesting. I am doing a project on staphylococcus aurues. I am going to mention your findings in my project thank you. Keep up the good work. From South Florida!
Thank you. Good luck with your project.
keep me with update