University of Queensland: Mexican Drug Cartels Hinder Medical Research Involving Vampire Bats

The War on Drugs–the gift that just keeps on giving,

Vampire bats could hold the key to new treatments for a range of serious medical problems, but researchers have hit a snag accessing the specimens needed to advance their work.

An international team led by The University of Queensland has found a new class of blood pressure-regulating peptides in the venom of the common vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata).

UQ School of Biological Sciences researcher Associate Professor Bryan Fry said the peptides could help revolutionise treatments for a wide range of conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, kidney diseases and burns, but the research had been hampered by criminal activity at a Mexican field site.

. . .

Associate Professor Fry said his team was facing challenges accessing vampire bat specimens.

“We can’t access our original field site in Mexico anymore, because we’re told that region has been taken over by drug traffickers,” he said.

“We’ll have to find new field sites that are safe to work in, but once we do that we’ll be on track to find new peptide variations and potential wonder drugs, helping improve and save lives.”

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