Source of a MRSA defense? Scientists find powerful antibiotics on frog skins

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Their wart-causing powers having long since been debunked, frogs are now getting a chance to prove their medical worthiness, according to new reports. Scientists are now using frog skin to produce new antibiotics to fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA.

Researchers at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi Emirate, enlisted the help of fellow scientists in collecting the secretions from the skins of hundreds of different types of frogs. Their efforts appear to have paid off: Speaking at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on Thursday, researchers said they had identified more than 100 antibiotic substances on the frog skins. According to researcher Michael Conlon, Ph.D., his team has received over 6,000 different samples, but has barely processed 200 of them.

One sample, from the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog of California and Oregon, has shown promise in killing the MRSA superbug common in nursing homes and other healthcare settings. Unfortunately, the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog is facing extinction, according to researchers, who say their studies also highlight the importance of preserving biodiversity and preventing natural habitat loss.