Planet China

Bearing gifts

Aside from their unquestionable cuteness, the panda’s wider contribution to humanity hasn’t always been apparent. That may have changed, says the UK’s Daily Telegraph. That’s thanks to the discovery that the endangered species produces a powerful natural antibiotic in its blood. Yan Xiuwen, a researcher at Nanjing Agricultural University, believes it can be used to treat humans against drug-resistant superbugs. In tests it was found that the compound – cathelicidin-AM – exhibits antimicrobial activities against bacteria and fungi. Yan hopes to produce this ‘panda antibiotic’ synthetically and then submit it for clinical trials. If successful, the bamboo-eating bear may help save lives


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