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Panda blood may be source of future antibiotics

(Photo Courtesy: ThundaFunda)

(Photo Courtesy: ThundaFunda)

Chinese scientists have discovered a potential new source of powerful antibiotics – panda blood.

According to the Daily Telegraph, researchers at Nanjing Agricultural University discovered pandas produce a substance in their immune system that kills bacteria and fungi.

The antibiotic is thought to be released by the bear’s immune system to protect them from infections in the wild.

Fortunately scientists will not need to harvest the antibiotic from actual pandas. The compound can be synthesized artificially in a lab, the newspaper reported.

It’s estimated that there are only 1,600 pandas in the wild. Their numbers have dwindled as their natural habitat, bamboo forests in China and Southeast Asia, have been destroyed.

The animals are difficult to breed in captivity. Female pandas only come into season once a year.

It’s hoped the discovery can be used to strengthen the case to conserve the endangered creatures.