Crocodile Blood could Hold Key to Improving Human Immune System
Crocodiles, those ancient predators may have a reputation as being man-eaters but new research suggests that their remarkable physiognomy may prove beneficial to humans when it comes to combating AIDS and other diseases.
Researchers at Kasertsart University (Thailand) have discovered a new medicine to help HIV positive children using crocodile’s blood, which has been successfully tested on rats and is now ready for wider research on people suffering from a number of diseases including those with the HIV positive condition.
Win Cheichomsri, Chief of Crocodile Blood Research, Faculty of Zoology, has conducted an experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of crocodile’s blood in unhealthy rats. For the university, the third oldest in Thailand, these tests mark the beginning of an extensive crocodile blood testing programme. For years, scientists have been aware of the remarkable properties of crocodile blood. These animals live in dirty, stagnant water stuffed full of bacteria but even though they may have open wounds their blood and it's anti-bodies prevent infections.
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Picture Credit: Associated Press
The researchers experiment involved two rats groups – one fed with supplement capsules made of crocodile’s blood and the other fed without the pills, a control group, as the scientists state.
Win Cheichomsri stated that the results indicate that the controlled group (fed without capsules) have bigger spleens than those in the experimental group.
The experimental rats (fed the crocodile supplements) became healthier and more fertile, reproducing many pups later on, the chief concludes. The Food and Drug Administration committee has certified the crocodile-blood tablets as clean and safe supplements for consumption.
Mr. Cheichomsri believes that the crocodile-blood pills could improve the immune systems and general health of HIV positive children. In fact, the capsules have been offered to twenty-four HIV infected children at Lorenzo Orphanage House in Panusnikom, Chonburi.
These children show remarkable physical changes after the consumption of the pills. They show less fatigue and have more energy to play. Their pustules are also gradually disappearing, Mr. Chiechomsri says.
He adds that those children who have suffered from hepatomegaly and splenomegaly, are presented with decreasing liver and spleen sizes. In particular during cold weather these children do not fall ill, indicating an improvement in their immune systems, according to Mr. Chiechomsri.
Based on the results, Mitri Temsiripong (Manager of Sriracha Tiger Zoo) and Wisachini Rungtaweekchair (Wanithai Part, Ltd) donate the crocodile blood supplements to the children at the orphanage, as accepted by Sister Wichuda Kusub. At the moment, the blood can be taken from the crocodiles without harming them and the crocodiles soon recover.
Perhaps these animals with a reputation for being man-eaters, may soon have gained a reputation for being man-savers as scientists search for new ways of combating disease and bacterial infections.