Tilapia skin used to heal Brazilian burn victims

Published on
December 20, 2016

Doctors in Brazil have found a medicinal use for tilapia, using the skin of the fish to treat burn victims with impressive initial results.

According to an exclusive report from The Sun, the pioneering treatment was spearheaded by a group of researchers from the Federal University of Ceará (UFC), who worked diligently in the Nucleus of Research and Development of Medicines (NPDM) department for two years to develop the technique.

Plastic surgeons Dr. Edmar Maciel at the Dr. José Frota Institute Burns Unit (IJF) in Fortaleza and Dr. Marcelo Borges at the São Marcos Hospital SOS Burns and Wounds Unit in Recife, are coordinators for the treatment project, reported The Sun.

Suffering from second-degree burns acquired when a gas-cooker canister exploded at her workplace, Maria Ines Candido da Silva, 36, was treated with  tilapia skin on her lesion wounds. While she admitted feeling it was a bizarre undertaking at first, the skin had her feeling better within minutes.

“I felt like I was in a sci-fi-movie when the tilapia fish skin was being put on,” said Ines Candido da Silva to The Sun. “At first the fish skin felt really cold but within minutes of it being laid on, I didn’t feel any more pain and it felt cool and comforting.”

“I was really surprised and grateful that it didn’t smell either,” she added.

Candido da Silva, who underwent the treatment for 11-plus days, is one of 50 patients who trialed the tilapia skin technique. The first pilot of project trials was completed this month, December 2016.

Tilapia was an ideal choice, said the researchers, because it is one of the most common freshwater, disease-resistant fish found in Brazil. Moreover, “analysis of the tilapia skin revealed it contains optimum levels of collagen type one and high degrees of humidity, so it takes a long time to dry out,” the doctors said.

"We discovered the tilapia fish skin performs significantly better in the healing process by soothing and curing severe wounds caused by burns,” explained Maciel, who is also president of the Burns Support Institute. "The skin triggers healing in roughly the same amount of time as the topical creams that we currently use in the conventional treatment. But the benefits of this alternative technique include reducing the trauma and pain suffered by patients because their dressing does not have to be changed daily.”

 


 

*Tilapia is the species being highlighted during Day 9 of SeafoodSource’s “12 Days of Seafood” campaign. Find below more relevant news and resources regarding tilapia:

Colombian tilapia producer receives BAP certification

Q&A with Xuefeng Han, Secretary-General of the Hainin Tilapia Sustainability Alliance

Saltwater tilapia producer earns BAP recognition for unique rearing technique

Infographic: All about tilapia

Quit tilapia for grouper, Chinese feed industry advises farmers

AquaChile looking for tilapia partners in Mexico in response to growing US demand

NFI lists America’s top 10 favorite seafood species

Vietnam tilapia exports to rise rapidly

Catchall: What you need to know about today's tilapia market

 

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