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Scientists invent compound that's so good at killing they named it after Keanu Reeves

Ali Condon

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Scientists invent compound that's so good at killing they named it after Keanu Reeves

Featured Image Credit: Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo / Summit Entertainment

Scientists have developed a molecular compound that's so effective in killing off disease-causing fungi that it's been named after Keanu Reeves.

The people of Hollywood may as well pack up and finish awards season early this year, because nothing is going to beat this honour.

From The Matrix to John Wick, Keanu Reeves has shown us time and time again how much of a badass he is, and now the science world is ready to recognise him for it.

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'Keanumycins' are a type of lipopeptide invented by the Bio Pilot Plant in Germany that can effortlessly fight off dangerous fungi.

A deadly molecule that can fight off disease has been named after Keanu Reeves. Credit: Album/Alamy Stock Photo
A deadly molecule that can fight off disease has been named after Keanu Reeves. Credit: Album/Alamy Stock Photo

A study on the new disease killer has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Explaining the thought process behind the name 'Keanumycins', lead author on the study Sebastian Götze explained: "The lipopeptides kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles."

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The Keanu-inspired compound can fight not only against fungi that causes disease in plants like Botrytis cinera, but also fungi that can be dangerous to humans, like Candida albicans.

At low concentrations, Keanumycins would not be toxic to the human cell, according to tests conducted so far.

That would make it the perfect candidate for the development of new antimyotics (medicines that stop fungal infections) - a product that the pharmaceutical world is in desperate need of.

Essentially, The Last Of Us might have been a very different story if Keanu Reeves - er, Keanumycins - had been involved.

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Cast Keanu in The Last Of Us and 'the infected' disappear. Credit: Sipa US/Alamy
Cast Keanu in The Last Of Us and 'the infected' disappear. Credit: Sipa US/Alamy

"We have a crisis in anti-infectives," Götze commented in a press release.

"Many human-pathogenic fungi are now resistant to antimycotics – partly because they are used in large quantities in agricultural fields."

He continued: "We tested the isolated substance against various fungi that infect humans.

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"We found that it strongly inhibits the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans, among others."

Just last year, the World Health Organisation reported that fungi were the biggest threat to public health and named Candida albicans as one of the 19 most 'critical priority' fungal pathogens.

In a statement issued in October 2022, Dr Justin Beardsley, who lead the WHO Fungal Priority Pathogens Lists research group, warned: "Fungi are the ‘forgotten’ infectious disease.

"They cause devastating illnesses but have been neglected so long that we barely understand the size of the problem."

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The molecule was named after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
The molecule was named after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Fungal infections result in approximately 1.7 million deaths per year and, as the planet heats up, that number is on the rise, according to a study published by the NCBI.

And if HBO has taught us anything over the last few weeks, it's that we should probably get a handle on that sooner rather than later.

Good thing we have Keanu on the case.

Topics: Technology, Keanu Reeves, Celebrity, Science

Ali Condon
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