经济学人:寻找新抗生素:巨蜥血的48种功效(01)

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Finding new antibiotics: The 48 uses of dragon's blood

寻找新抗生素:巨蜥血的48种功效

Komodo dragons could be the source for a new generation of antibiotics

科莫多巨蜥可成为新一代抗生素的来源。

Mythology is rich with tales of dragons and the magical properties their innards possess.

神话中有许多关于龙的传说,以及它们体内器官所具有的奇妙功效的故事。

One of the most valuable bits was their blood. Supposedly capable of curing respiratory and digestive disorders, it was widely sought.

其中最有价值的部分是它们的血液。据称可以治愈呼吸和消化系统疾病,因此被广泛追捧。

A new study has provided a factual twist on these fictional medicines.

一项新的研究为这些虚构的药物提供了一个真实依据。

Barney Bishop and Monique van Hoek, at George Mason University in Virginia, report in The Journal of Proteome Research that the blood of the Komodo dragon,

弗吉利亚州的乔治梅森大学的Barney和Monique在JPR上发表了一份报告,

the largest living lizard on the planet, is loaded with compounds that could be used as antibiotics.

他们发现这种地球上现存的最大蜥蜴的血液里充满了可用以开发抗生素的化合物。

Komodo dragons, which are native to parts of Indonesia, ambush large animals like water buffalo and deer with a bite to the throat.

可摩多巨蜥,生活于印度尼西亚部分地区,它们经常对水牛和鹿等大型动物致命一击。

If their prey does not fall immediately, the dragons rarely continue the fight.

如果它们的猎物没有很快倒地,巨蜥很少继续战斗。

Instead, they back away and let the mix of mild venom and dozens of pathogenic bacteria found in their saliva finish the job.

而是闪到一边,等待它们唾液中的温和毒液和致病细菌完成后半程。

They track their prey until it succumbs, whereupon they can feast without a struggle.

它们会跟踪受伤的猎物直到猎物挂掉,然后不费力的享受一顿大餐。

Intriguingly, though, Komodo dragons appear to be resistant to bites inflicted by other dragons.

有趣的是,它们似乎对同类的咬伤免疫。

Most animals—not just Komodo dragons—carry simple proteins known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as general-purpose weapons against infection.

大多数的动物–不仅仅是科摩多巨蜥–体内有一种简单蛋白质,称抗菌肽,用来抵御外界感染。

But if the AMPs of Komodo dragons are potent enough to let them shrug off otherwise-fatal bites from their fellow animals, they are probably especially robust.

如果科摩多巨蜥体内的抗菌肽足够强力,让它们能够抵御同类的出乎意料的致命咬伤,那么它们必然特别的强健。

And that could make them a promising source of chemicals upon which to base new antibiotics.

这可能使它们作为一种有前途的化合物来源,用于制造新型抗生素。

英文文本来自经济学人 译文来自李一然

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