As strange as it may sound, alligator blood does indeed contain antibiotic components called peptides, and it is hoped that one day these components can be synthesized for treatment of many human diseases and bacterial infections. There is already some preliminary evidence that certain antibiotic peptides found in alligator blood can kill drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA and even the HIV virus associated with AIDS.
Research into the antibiotic and other medicinal properties of lizards and amphibians is not new. The recently approved diabetes drug known as Byetta is largely based on the chemical structure of a Gila monster's saliva, for example. Secretions from frogs and other amphibians have also been studied for their unique medicinal properties. The formal study of alligator blood is said to have originated from observations of alligators in the wild.
Biologists observing the behavior of alligators noticed that even though alligators often engaged in violent territorial behavior and damaging encounters with other animals, very few ever developed fatal infections from their injuries. Even spending most of their time in bacteria-infested swamp water did not seem to affect the healing process. Such natural resistance to bacterial infection is not rare in wild animals, but the blood of alligators seemed to be especially resistant.
Samples of alligator blood were eventually gathered for serious scientific inquiry and the results surprised many of the researchers. Concentrated human serum and concentrated alligator serum samples were each exposed to 23 strains of bacteria, including the one responsible for MRSA. The human blood serum managed to kill off 8 of the 23 bacteria cultures. The alligator blood serum killed all 23 bacteria cultures, including MRSA. It also significantly reduced the overall level of HIV in a sample of infected human blood.
Because of the promising results of these tests, scientists hope to be able to synthesize the chemical structure of the alligator blood peptides and develop similar antibiotics for humans. Currently, therapeutic levels of alligator blood would be too toxic for humans, but there is hope that a suitable synthetic version could be produced as a cream for topical infections and as a pill for systemic bacterial infections within the next decade.