Researchers in Brazil are experimenting with a new treatment for severe burns using the skin of tilapia fish, an unorthodox procedure they say can ease the pain of victims and cut medical costs. Jim Drury reports.
A burns victim having tilapia fish skin wrapped around his leg. It's a new treatment being trialled on second and third-degree burns patients in Brazil. Federal University of Ceara scientists found that tilapia skin contains moisture, collagen and disease resistance at similar levels to human skin. They say it aids healing, and is cheaper and less painful than using gauze bandage, which needs regular changing The skin is applied directly onto the burned area and covered with a bandage, without cream. After 10 days it can be peeled off painlessly. Frozen pig skin and human tissue have long been placed on burns, but supplies are low in Brazil. Tilapia is abundant in the country's rivers and fish farms. Researchers hope businesses will be encouraged to process its skin for medical use.