Wow! Using tilapia skin for burns actually works


This is amazing. In the US we use artificial skin, animal skin (pig, usually) and donated human skin to treat burn victims. Sterilized skin is applied over a burn instead of using gauze and bandages which require many painful changes for infection reasons. Donated skin binds to human skin and allows the healing to take place underneath. The human body finally sheds the donated skin, much as a scab falls off a wound.

In less prosperous Brazil, they don’t have enough donated skin, just 1% of the amount needed, so they turned to another, much more available source, tilapia skin.

Tilapia is a farmed fish and the skins are usually thrown away. That’s probably about to change. It turns out that the amount of collagen proteins, types 1 and 3, which are very important for scarring, exist in large quantities in tilapia skin, even more than in human and other skins. In addition, the amount of tension, of resistance in tilapia skin is much greater than in human skin, as is the amount of moisture.

The skins are trimmed and bathed in sterilizing agents, then sent for radiation to kill viruses, before being packaged and refrigerated. Once cleaned and treated, they can last for up to two years.


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