A research team at a top Thai university has embraced an animal whose very name is a curse word in hope its blood can treat COVID-19.
Jitkamol Thanasak of Mahidol University’s Veterinary Science Faculty said yesterday he has been studying monitor lizards provided by wildlife officials to see if proteins in the animal’s blood can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, bacteria and viruses, which could, in theory, help with suppressive therapeutics for COVID-19.
The veterinary researcher said he only takes a minimal amount of blood from the animals which are then released back to nature.
Jitkamol has an ambitious vision of the benefits the much-maligned creatures, whose name hia is used as an obscene exclamation, may bring humanity. If his experiment proves his theories, he sees a future where monitor lizard blood offers “an alternative source of hope for mankind.”
His theory is that scavenging on carrion lends monitor lizard blood qualities which may hinder certain cancer cells and bacteria without adverse effect on humans. After he patents monitor lizard blood’s use in humans, Jitkamol said he will move on to study its potential to combat three infectious diseases: influenza, avian influenza and COVID-19.
The professor obtained a doctorate in Bovine Management at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research has covered bovine medicine, milk production and monitor lizards.
The reptiles are a protected species. There have been pushes over the years to breed them for economic uses as they are relatively common in the kingdom.
Medical disclaimer: Until the science is clinically proven, please do not inject yourself with lizard blood. Unless that’s already your jam.