Alligators have been around a while. Millions of years in fact and not just because they are stealthy hunters with sharp teeth, a violent death roll, and tough skin. Chemists in 2008 found that alligator blood contains antibacterial properties. The serum of the blood of an alligator was shown to kill 23 different types of bacteria and even reduce stores of the HIV via enzymes that break down lipids. I use this information a lot in my outreach efforts to show the cool new discoveries that are made via animal research.
So how is this information helpful to humans? In this antibacterial world we live in (eat some dirt people!) we are creating antibiotic resistant super bugs that need novel approaches to develop new drugs to treat them. Scientists can “tease out” the enzyme molecules and test them against different bacteria strains that can cause sepsis, food poisoning, infections, and in some cases death.