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No, crocodile blood can’t cure HIV or staph infection

“Crocodile blood can cure HIV,” says a meme shared on Facebook in Nigeria, “and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA.”

Could this be true?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus infects cells that help the body fight diseases. If HIV isn’t treated, it can lead to Aids – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. People with full-blown Aids can die from diseases the body can’t fight.

MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It’s an infection – usually of the skin – caused by staph bacteria. MRSA develops when the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics (such as methicillin) used to treat staph infections.

As the World Health Organization says, there is no cure for HIV. But the damage the virus does to the body can be controlled with antiretroviral therapy, or ART.

Crocodile blood experiments in test tubes

Africa Check asked Dr Mark Blaskovich, senior research officer at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia, about the meme.

The claim that crocodile blood “can cure HIV and MRSA is untrue”, Blaskovich told us.

Some research had shown that crocodile blood could – in test tubes – kill bacteria and viruses, he said, “so there is some truth to its potential”.

“Some scientists appear to have isolated specific components from the blood that are active against bacteria and/or viruses, but again, this is in test tubes,” Blaskovich said.

It was a long process to get from a substance that worked in a test tube to a substance that worked in the human body, he added, and “most attempts fail along the way”.

So, no: crocodile blood can’t “cure” HIV and antibiotic-resistant staph infection. – Butchie Seroto


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