Conservationists have long been working to prevent pandas from going extinct. And their efforts might now have a renewed focus as researchers from the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University have discovered an antibody in panda blood that's extremely effective at killing fungus and bacteria.

Known as cathelicin-AM, the compound is capable of quickly killing strains of microbes and fungi, even those that have become drug-resistant over the years. So it could turn out to be an effective weapon for battling superbugs that can't be eradicated through traditional treatments.

And while the compound is another reason to continue panda preservation efforts, the researchers have actually already created a synthetic version by decoding the animal's genes. So the 1,600 or so pandas remaining on our planet won't have to spend their lives donating blood and gorging on free cookies afterwards. [MedicalDaily via Slashdot]

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