Researchers in Brazil are experimenting with a new treatment for serious burns utilizing the skin of tilapia fish, an unorthodox procedure they say can ease the pain of sufferers and also cut medical costs.
Frozen pig skin and also human tissue have long been positioned on burns to maintain them moist and permit the transfer of collagen, a protein which promotes healing, however Brazil’s public hospitals lack human and pig skin supplies. Rather, gauze bandage, which needs regular changing – often painfully – is the norm.
Tilapia will be abundant in Brazil’s rivers and also fish farms, which are expanding rapidly as demand grows for the mildly flavoured freshwater fish.
Scientists around the Federal University of Ceara within northern Brazil have discovered the fact that tilapia skin has moisture, collagen and also disease resistance at levels comparable to human skin, and may aid in healing.
The tilapia treatment can easily speed up healing by a few days and also reduces the need for pain medication, the Brazilian researchers state, adding that this treatment costs 75 % lower than the sulfadiazine cream typically used on Brazilian burn patients.
The researchers hope the treatment may prove commercially viable and also encourage businesses to procedure tilapia skin for medical use.