Scientists have found a possible cure for MRSA from an unlikely source - American bullfrogs.
American bullfrogs produce ranalexin
St Andrews University researchers have developed a treatment which kills the bacterium. A key ingredient is ranalexin, produced by the frogs.
A team led by microbiologist Dr Peter Coote found ranalexin had an inhibitory effect on MRSA when combined with another antimicrobial compound.
MRSA is responsible for approximately 2000 deaths every year in the UK.
Dr Coote, of the university's centre for biomolecular science (CBMS), said: "Our finding represents a potentially novel way to combat MRSA via surface treatment or impregnation of wound dressings.
"The development of new routes to target MRSA that do not result in the acquisition of resistance would greatly improve the ability of clinicians to tackle these infections more effectively and cheaply."
Combining antibiotics is a common way of targeting a wide spectrum of organisms and prevents the emergence of resistant strains.
The MRSA superbug can have deadly results
It also decreases toxicity to the patient because lower doses of each ingredient are used.
The researchers found a positive effect against MRSA when combining ranalexin with the antimicrobial lysostaphin.
Ranalexin is an antimicrobial peptide, natural molecules that are produced by all living creatures as a defence against disease-causing pathogens.
The St Andrews University team hope that by impregnating dressings with the two compounds, the combination can be used as a novel and effective method to treat wounds infected by drug-resistant MRSA.
The research has already been patented and is published by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
It was funded by the BBSRC - Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.