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Tasmanian Devil Milk Is A New Hope In Fighting Superbugs

Devilishly good news.
And they're REALLY cute too.
AFP/Getty Images
And they're REALLY cute too.

Researchers have discovered Tasmanian devil milk may be a new weapon in the fight against some of man's most deadly drug resistant superbugs.

Superbugs are basically bacteria that has become mutated in a way that makes them resistant to the usual medication we use to treat them. Their drug resistant nature makes contracting a superbug very scary for medical professionals and everyday folk alike.

Sydney University researchers have discovered that Tasmanian devil's milk contains peptides that can kill fungal and bacteria infections that don't respond to antibiotics.

The peptides in the milk come from a family of antimicrobials called cathelicidins, which basically act as a natural form of antibiotics and therefore can help fight superbugs.

Tasmanian devils have six varieties of these peptides as opposed to the one type humans have. The peptides were tested against some of the world's most harmful bacteria including golden staph, with promising results.

The research found that multiple peptides in the milk have the capability to kill several strains of drug-resistant bacteria.

Devil Ark General Manager, Tim Stark, has said the conservation team at Devil Ark are the ones responsibly for milking the female devils, which are an endangered species.

"The most common question I'm asked as a result of these finding is how do you milk a Tasmanian devil? The process was as simple as a routine health inspection we carry out at Devil Ark for all lactating mums," Stark said.

Researchers are continuing to test other Australian marsupials to see if they have similar peptides and they've found them in preliminary results from koala milk, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The results were published in the Scientific Reports section of Nature journal and will hopefully be a step in the right direction to fighting the ongoing fight against superbugs.

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