Crocodile immune system

Scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antibiotic for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune system kills the HIV virus.

The crocodile's immune system is much more powerful than that of humans, preventing life-threatening infections after savage territorial fights which often leave the animals with gaping wounds and missing limbs.

"They tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally, almost always without infection," said Mark Merchant, an American scientist who has been taking crocodile blood samples in the Northern Territory.

Source: wired.comAdded: 2 January 2010