Pinkeye Medicine Prevents Frog Apocalypse

The medicine used to treat pinkeye in humans could save frogs worldwide.

Chytridiomycosis, or frog chytrid disease, is a fungus that has been wiping out amphibian populations across the world. The fungus is blamed for driving more than a third of all amphibian populations towards extinction. At least 130 species are more than likely already extinct because of the disease.

After two weeks of treatment with the antibiotic chloramphenicol, however, the frogs were cured. “Our results are 100 percent certain,” said zoologist Paul Bishop of the University of Otago in New Zealand. He said chloramphenicol was “definitely the best” treatment so far discovered.

While scientists are rejoicing over the discovery of a cure, some scientists are more sober. They point out that the declines associated with the disease will still occur, as all the frogs in the world cannot be rounded up and treated for two weeks with antibiotics. They do concede, however, that it is a positive step towards preventing extinction in affected populations.

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