The complete inventing of the Sunscreen Pill - helps preventing the skin from aging and UV damagingAge: 20 months
Sealed in 28 September 2014 18:05:19
Opened at: 22 May 2016 04:00:00
A secret from the sea could lead to a pill that prevents sunburn within five years, say scientists.
British researchers have uncovered the unique way coral shields itself against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
They believe the discovery could pave the way for a sunscreen revolution with a tablet that protects both skin and eyes.
Scientists are close to producing a synthetic anti-sun compound based on those found in coral.
If the research progresses as hoped, the first sunscreen pill could become a reality in five years.
Such a product may have to be on prescription only to prevent people overdosing and harming their health.
Some skin reaction to UV is vital for the production of vitamin D. Too much sun protection can lead to vitamin D deficiency, resulting in weak bones.
Coral is an animal that only survives because of the algae living within it.
The mutually dependent relationship between the two organisms is the key to coral sun protection.
Dr Paul Long, who is heading the three-year project at King's College London, said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.
"Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but we have seen that fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection, so it is clearly passed up the food chain.
"This led us to believe that if we can determine how this compound is created and passed on, we could biosynthetically develop it in a laboratory to create a sunscreen for human use, perhaps in the form of a tablet, which would work in a similar way.
"We are very close to being able to reproduce this compound in the lab, and if all goes well we would expect to test it within the next two years."
Source and more information: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/aug/31/sunscreen-pill-coral-five-years
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