Published: 07/01/2013 - Updated: 01/25/2017
Author: Miriam Reyes
Generally when we consume a drug, we are led to believe that it is an extract of plants or natural substances that have been isolated from them or synthesized in a lab. Rarely does the possibility that they may come from an insect or animal come to mind, as it may cause repulsion, however, some drugs like this do exist.
While there is always some substance that is extracted from the insect or animal, sometimes the same substance plays an important role in the development and production of certain medications. Here we show some examples of vermin and common animals that have been manipulated to help in the health field:
1. Moths against flu
Influenza vaccines are usually made using samples of chicken eggs and moreover, people who are allergic to eggs could have a major allergic reaction to the implementation of such a vaccine.
However, the alternative to produce a vaccine came from a worm of a moth. This method has already been approved to develop other vaccines, but not for influenza. The good news is that it is a faster method than the conventional one, which increases production in less time giving the opportunity to cope with an epidemic more effectively.
2. Anti-cancerous scorpions
Perhaps it is an arachnid that causes fear in many people, but scorpions can be very useful when it comes to cancer. While some argue that scorpion venom can eliminate and cure cancer, today there are no studies to support it. However, what we do know is that cancer cells are the only ones that digest the substance. That is why a group of researchers have mixed a molecule in the venom of the scorpion that glows under a special light, so that you can "see" it if it must be removed by surgery. This would prove to be a more effective, fast and easy method. While still not being implemented just yet due to the fact that it is still under investigation, this technique shows a lot of promise and represents major advances in cancer treatment.
3. Antibiotic Frogs
The Russian brown frog, whose skin secretes a sticky substance with antimicrobial properties, seems to be a new hope for treating infections. The idea arose because these live in damp areas which are usually populated by bacteria and fungi, so scientists were given the task to investigate and found 76 new substances that have antibacterial and antifungal properties, some even as powerful as many of the antibiotics that are used today. It is likely that these substances create new drugs to combat fungi and bacteria.
4. Mussels for your teeth
Tooth sensitivity can be a really annoying problem and occurs due to tooth enamel and dentin wear which is sensitive to cold and heat when it is exposed. The alternatives to treat this sensitivity are toothpastes and chewing gums containing minerals that adhere to the tooth and give relief to the discomfort, but their effects are not permanent.
The problem has attracted the attention of Chinese scientists who have been looking at mussels because they possess the ability to adhere to rocks by a kind of goo and have developed a similar substance. When teeth were treated with the substance and given a bath of minerals, the results were very favorable and were found to strengthen the enamel. This breakthrough could destroy toothpaste and most effective treatments for tooth sensitivity, in favour of a more natural remedy.
So although we may see extracting from animals as repulsive, unpleasant and even a little scary, they can hide numerous health benefits that are still yet to be discovered.
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