Scientists believe they have found a substance which could help hospitals defeat the spread of notorious superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The substance is secreted from frog skins and experts at the United Arab Emirates University in Abu Dhabi hope to copy the chemical structures to produce drugs that can combat resistant bacteria.
Hopes have been raised enough that they believe they could be tested on patients in clinical trials within the next five years.
Biochemist Dr Michael Conlon, who is leading the work at the university, said: “Frog skin is an excellent potential source of such antibiotic agents. They’ve been around 300 million years, so they’ve had plenty of time to learn how to defend themselves against disease-causing microbes in the environment.”
Dr Conlon has been sent skin swabs from indigenous frogs across the globe in a bid to develop the compounds, including rare amphibians such as the foothill yellow-legged frog, which faces extinction.
Copyright Press Association 2010