Lichen May Help With Chronic Wasting Disease

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Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in the 1960s and has spread, being detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces in wild elk, mule deer, whitetail deer and moose. Prions are the proteins that affect the brain, and have not been treatable and almost impossible to get rid of. Until two USGS researchers discussed lichen and prions, "(Johnson) got assigned space in my office, and I started telling him about the strange compounds lichens have, and he got interested and was thinking they might have some anti-prionic activity," said Bennett. They started conducting tests, and from that data were able to publish their study.

The lichens would be a safe way to treat the CWD. From their tests they found there were three types of lichen that were shown to degrade prions from infected hamsters, mice, and deer according to Wisconsin State Journal.


ndemiter's picture

i'm glad somebody is finally

i'm glad somebody is finally finding clues as to what might be able to fix this pandemic. i just hope it doesn't end up like that rare flower found only in one grove of trees in the amazon that cured cancer. we get a glimpse of the cure, only to have it slip through our fingers.

it would be nice to find some kind of immunization for the disease, then resistance to it could be passed to multiple generations.

there is another unexplored front in this fight though. ginetic engineering. would it be possible to alter the DNA of a deer enough so that the disease cannot effect the super-deer, or would the disease mutate into something even more deadly (i read "the andromeda strain" twice!)?

it's good just to know that at least somebody is still working on it. for a while there i was thinking that people had given up searching for a way to stop the spread of CWD, and therefore the future of ungulate survival was bleak.

i've read as much as they have developed a potential vaccine containing a protien that may be able to be a functional antibody for cwd, it is currently in its beginning phases of testing... which is awesome. hats off guys.

cowgal's picture


I was amazed and surprised to read this! Hope it truly does work. But I have a suspicion this has always been around and may be one way for mother nature to keep CWD in check already. 

Esteshunter's picture

If they make this work, I

If they make this work, I nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize!  Would be fantastic!

hunter25's picture

After all these years of

After all these years of helplessnes in trying to combat cwd it's good to see that they at least finally have something to work with. The article seems to indicate that they have not learned much at this point but at least it is somewhere to start. Not a cure maybe but a start at finding a way to begin to slow it down. The big question is how do you use something like this to get it into the animals that need it once you have figured out what it can do? Well hopefully this is a light at the end of the tunnel and the beginning of a cure.