Keanu Reeves fights bad guys and now fungi — thanks to new discovery named after him

Keanu Reeves is known for fighting the bad guys.

From “John Wick” to “The Matrix,” Reeves has made a name for himself as an action hero, the man called in to get the job done.

Now, his name is being used to fight something else: fungi.

German scientists recently discovered a naturally occurring ingredient in a known bacteria that can kill fungus that may be resistant to other treatment options, according to a release from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Jena, Germany.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, identified the active ingredient as a lipopeptide, a type of molecule used in antibiotics and antifungals to kill dangerous cells.

“The lipopeptides kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles,” first author of the study Sebastian Götze said in the release.

Keanumycins, as the new discovery was named, might provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides used in agriculture.

“We have a crisis in anti-infectives,” Götze said. “Many human-pathogenic fungi are now resistant to antimycotics – partly because they are used in large quantities in agricultural fields.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that because antifungals are used on plants for large scale agriculture, fungi are becoming more resistant to treatment over time, making the fungi more dangerous.

Scientists proved that Keanumycin is effective against both plant fungal diseases and human-pathogenic fungi.
Scientists proved that Keanumycin is effective against both plant fungal diseases and human-pathogenic fungi.

The Leibniz scientists say the Keanumycins could kill fungi without developing resistance. This would not only help farmers use fewer chemicals on their plants, but it could also help people.

According to tests the researchers have run, the Keanumycins are “not highly toxic for human cells and (are) already effective against fungi in very low concentrations.”

The scientists said it makes Keanumycins a good candidate for pharmaceutical development because “there are very few drugs against fungal infections on the market.”

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