Bodily fluids hold antibiotic promise against anthrax

Anthrax

Lysozyme, an enzyme found in human bodily fluids, has been shown to attack Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax.

The enzyme, which is present in human milk, tears, semen, mucous and saliva, degrades the cell walls of bacteria, ultimately breaking them down, according to MNN.com.

Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, first observed the anti-bacterial properties of lysozyme in 1922. Since then, it has been considered a natural form of protection against several kinds of pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.

Saeed Khan, a researcher from the National Center for Toxicological Research in Arkansas, discovered its effectiveness against anthrax in recent experiments on egg whites, which also contain lysozyme. Khan and his team found that the enzyme killed an anthrax substitute after infection. Lysozyme also destroyed the substitute spores in beef and milk.

Experts believe that it may be possible that lysozyme could aid in the development of new countermeasures against biological weapons and other pathogenic bacteria. They are also hopeful that other substances found naturally in the human body can be harnessed as antibiotics.

“Pretty much every wet area of your body has antimicrobial powers,” Alexander Cole from the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida said, MSNBC.com reports.

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