Researchers in Australia have recently discovered a new way of fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria in an unlikely source. They began looking at Tasmanian devils’ mothers when they noticed that, even though their babies were born without an immune system and do not develop one until about three months after birth, they still seem to thrive without any signs of disease. These creatures are also marsupials, which means that they stay inside the mother’s pouch until they are large enough to get around on their own. The pouches are full of various kinds of bacteria, so it was not fully understood how babies could stay in them without any immune system and not get sick. This brought the researchers to testing the marsupial’s milk, and that is when they made their amazing discovery.
Apparently, the milk from a Tasmania devil can fight off a multitude of infections, and this is what keeps their babies so healthy. They have six different peptides of natural antibiotics in their milk that can kill off numerous infectious organisms that humans are currently struggling to keep in check. The overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soap has caused many kinds of bacteria to adapt to survive, resulting in their reduced effectiveness. Some of the strongest antibiotics that are available no longer work against some bacteria. However, Tasmanian devil’s milk can kill them off very quickly, especially strains of staph infections, dangerous forms of Candida, and Enterococcus.
Although further research is needed, the properties that are found in the Tasmanian devil milk have been synthesized, so they could be replicated and turned into new antibiotics sometime soon. There has been no mention of when medications containing elements from the marsupial’s milk will be available to the public as of yet, though. But in the meantime, researchers are also taking a look at other marsupials to see if their mothers’ milk possesses the same properties.