Researchers, from Auburn University in Alabama, were conducting research on black flies when they discovered a protein in their saliva that speeds the healing of surgical incisions.
Black flies inject the protein, named Simulium vittatum erythema protein, into their prey to increase blood flow in the skin.
Researcher Mary Cupp and small-animal surgery professor Steven Swaim have shown that surgical incisions treated with solutions combining a recombinant form of the protein with antibiotics heal faster and stronger than incisions treated with antibiotics alone.
The researchers also say their findings suggest that the protein could work in a similar way to speed healing of chronic wounds such as skin ulcers and diabetic lesions.
Auburn University’s Office of Technology Transfer is now looking for companies or entrepreneurs to commercialize the technology.