Sloths are one of the mysteries of the jungle. They live only in the canopy and host a whole micro-ecosystem of organisms in their mossy fur containing promising leads on treatment for malaria, Chagas disease and breast cancer. With the looming threat of antibiotic resistance, scientists want to know: Could sloth fur hold the key to a new form of antibiotic?
Roger Linington’s lab at University of California has already found interesting compounds.
“Some of the fungi from the fur of the sloth had drug-like properties which were very different to the current battery of antibiotics available in the clinic. So it was very encouraging.”
Linington is part of a top-notch team of North American and Panamanian scientists searching together for potential new drugs from the natural world. Chemists have had little success in making synthetic antibiotics. So it's back to nature.
Watch the Antibiotic Hunters online now.