Sharks May Help Humans Defeat Viral Hepatitis
Shark Molecule Kills Human Viruses, Too
Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 19 September 2011
A molecule found in sharks appears to be able to wipe out human liver viruses, such as hepatitis, new research has found.
“Sharks are remarkably resistant to viruses,” study researcher Michael Zasloff, of the Georgetown University Medical Center, told LiveScience. Zasloff discovered the molecule, squalamine, in 1993 in the dogfish shark, a small- to medium-size shark found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. [See a Gallery of Wild Sharks]
“It looked like no other compound that had been described in any animal or plant before. It was something completely unique,” Zasloff said. The compound is a potent antibacterial and has shown efficacy in treating human cancers and an eye condition known as macular degeneration, which causes blindness.
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