May 3, 2006
6 months ago I read that a scientist in Darwin, Australia had been experimenting with serum collected from Crocodiles. The reason being that Crocks are territorial and tear limbs off each other and never seem to get an infection, even when they are swimming in dirty swamps and creeks. He put some of this serum into a test tube containing AIDS, and it immediately killed the AIDS virus. Can you confirm this report and let us know how far the experiments had progressed?
Response from Dr. Daar
You are correct that there was a report late last year of studies related to crocodile serum. As you note, investigators had reason to believe that the crocodile immune system might be very strong and have reported that their serum is effective against select bacteria in the test tube. They further put crocodile serum in the test tube with HIV and showed that it "killed" HIV. However, I am not aware of any of the HIV work having been published in the scientific literature. Consequently, at this point it remains a scientific oddity that requires further exploration. I wouldn't sit around waiting for this strategy to move into the clinics in a hurry, but with time, who knows.
Best, Eric .
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