Health News of Monday, 25 February 2013

Source: Medical News Today

Could human sweat fight TB?

An antibiotic created from human sweat might fight off hospital superbugs and deadly strains of tuberculosis, scientists reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers, from Scotland, Germany, France and Spain explained that a protein found on human skin - Dermcidin - is activated in sweat (slightly acidic and salty environments) and kills harmful microbes by perforating their cell membranes.

Dermcidin is a natural protein, part of our natural defences, that is present on our skin when we sweat. The authors wrote that understanding how these natural defences work could help researchers design effective alternatives to conventional antibiotic medications.

Until know, the scientific community could not fully explain how proteins produced by animals and plants have been fending off harmful bacteria, viruses and funguses for millions of years.

If scientists can eventually unravel how proteins such as dermcidin work, we may be better equipped to fight off infections which are becoming progressively more resistant to all our current antibiotics, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

In Ghanan, the Ministry of Health describes tuberculosis as the most common cause of lost healthy lives due to premature deaths. An estimated 10,000 deaths due to tuberculosis occur in Ghana each year, according to the NGO Stop TB Ghana.