Asian water monitor lizard blood is being researched in Thailand for its medicinal properties and its potential to treat cancer and even Covid-19. The Thai government granted the Mahidol University permission to collect blood samples from the protected species and study proteins in the blood that contribute to the lizard’s immune defence.
The large lizards, sometimes reaching 1.5 metres in size, have a strong immune system, allowing them to live in polluted water and eat decaying animals, according to a professor at the Mahidol University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. While researchers say the proteins in the lizard’s blood inhibit the growth of cancer cells and some bacteria, more studies need to be done to see if the healthy cells in humans are affected by the reptile blood.
The initial study is set to be completed by the end of the year. Researchers will test whether the blood can combat different viruses such as the avian flu and Covid-19.