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Thai scientists tap monitor lizard blood for Covid cure

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A Mahidol University research team says the blood of water monitor lizards contains medicinal properties that can combat cancer, bacteria and perhaps even new viruses like Covid-19.

Assoc Prof Jitkamol Thanasak, a lecturer at Mahidol’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, said the researchers are unlocking the secrets of a powerful immune system that enables the lizards to live in polluted water and consume decaying flesh.

The researchers were granted permission from the government to collect blood samples from water monitors (Varanus salvator), a protected species.

The blood samples were used to study the characteristics of proteins that form part of the lizard’s immune defence.

Researchers found that the proteins inhibited the growth of cancer cells and some bacteria. They speculate that this effect may also extend to suppressing viruses, including Covid-19.

The next step is to confirm that the blood constituents inhibit certain types of cancer cells and bacteria, but do not affect healthy cells in the human body.

The Mahidol researchers plan to patent their discovery after further research.

They expect to complete their initial study on water monitors’ blood by the end of 2021, and then test whether it can also combat influenza, avian flu and Covid-19.

Published : May 26, 2021

By : The Nation