The Key to Fighting Superbugs Might Be Milk… Platypus Milk

The Key to Fighting Superbugs Might Be Milk… Platypus Milk

The Key to Fighting Superbugs Might Be Milk… Platypus Milk

The Key to Fighting Superbugs Might Be Milk… Platypus Milk

The platypus—the name alone says “bizarre”, not to mention how the animal actually looks. Take an otter, give it a beaver tail, poisonous feet, the ability to lay eggs, and a duck bill, and you’ve got the platypus—an animal so strange that early naturalists thought it might be a hoax. And believe it or not, but this strange creature might just hold the key to defeating antibiotic resistance.

“Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry,” says CSIRO scientist and lead author on the research, Dr. Janet Newman. “The platypus belongs to the monotreme family, a small group of mammals that lay eggs and produce milk to feed their young. By taking a closer look at their milk, we’ve characterized a new protein that has unique antibacterial properties with the potential to save lives.”

The secret of the milk appears to be in how it’s given to the animal’s babies. Since the platypus doesn’t have teats, they “sweat” milk onto their stomachs—essentially creating a dish from which the young can lap up dinner. The problem is, this approach exposes the milk to outside contaminants, so it requires an extra ingredient to keep it safe for young mouths.

So if that secret ingredient can protect a baby platypus from bacteria, researchers asked themselves, could it also protect humans? The answer looks very promising.

The milk’s ability to defeat bacteria appears to lie in a unique protein, one researchers have dubbed “Shirley Temple” after it’s unusual ringlet shape. This shape (according to their hypothesis) would most likely function differently than our current antibiotics, allowing it to attack and kill bacteria that other drugs can’t.

There’s still plenty of work to be done—synthesizing, testing, re-testing, animal trials, human trials, etc.—but every advance towards the end of superbugs is something to be excited about.

Antibiotic resistant “superbugs” were declared an international health crisis by the UN in recent years, with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warning that the bugs pose “a fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production and development.”

“Let me give just a few, sobering examples,” he continued. “More than 200,000 newborn children are estimated to die each year from infections that do not respond to available antibiotics. An epidemic of multidrug-resistant typhoid is now sweeping across parts of Africa, being spread through water. Resistance to HIV/AIDS drugs is on the rise. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has been identified in 105 countries. And resistance to antimalarial medicines is an urgent public health concern in the Greater Mekong sub-region.”

In other words, the threat isn’t looming in the future, it’s already here. And the research into platypus milk as well as other antibacterial possibilities is something that all of us in the healthcare industry should be paying very close attention to.

For more information on how you can begin your own career in healthcare, Unitek College is here to help. Contact us today for more information.

Paging Doctor Kermit

Paging Doctor Kermit: A Frog May Hold Key To Universal Flu Vaccine

Paging Doctor Kermit

A Frog May Hold Key To Universal Flu Vaccine

We’re now halfway through October, and while we still have a few weeks to go until Halloween kicks off the holiday season, we’re already well into flu season. Flu season (October through May in the United States, with peaks in December and February) tends to bring significant spikes of influenza cases nationwide, as kids go back to school, people spend more time indoors, the cold helps preserve viruses, and people get less Vitamin D from the sun.

Currently, the best defense against the influenza virus is inoculation, and health officials recommend everyone get their shots before the end of October—particularly those more vulnerable to the illness, such as children under 5, adults over 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical issues. This year, some are predicting an especially nasty flu season.

“But influenza is unpredictable,” says Colorado epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “It could be an indicator that it is going to be a more severe season. But it could change.”

Unfortunately, the flu vaccine isn’t always effective. While health officials do their best to predict which strain of influenza will impact the country, the result is still an educated guess. In 2014, for example, the flu vaccine protected against the wrong strain, leaving millions vulnerable to the actual virus.

But while flu vaccines are currently the best defense, a potentially better one is currently being researched. And you’ll never guess where scientists found it.

Researchers at Emory University discovered that the non-toxic mucus collected from the backs of a South Indian frog contains an element that causes certain germs to literally explode—while allowing other cells and viruses to pass by.

“We tested it against viruses that came from the 1930s until the current ones, and it kills all of the H1s. It doesn’t touch H3. It’s very, very specific,” explains Emory’s Joshy Jacob, who led the study.

The secret ingredient is an element dubbed urumin, a peptide that targets hemagglutinin (HA), a protein that allows the influenza virus to attach itself to human cells. Without the protein, the virus can’t attach and dies off, and so far, urumin has knocked back every H1NX flu virus it’s gone up against. As for why the germs explode after exposure, researchers are still working on theories—the leading theory being that urumin releases an electrostatic force after binding that destroys the outer shell of the germ.

While urumin doesn’t destroy all types of flu virus, researchers are still optimistic and hope to study urumin in order to develop a universal cure. The tests are currently being done on mice, with ferrets next in line. Then, should those tests go well, humans will be next.

(And if you’re a little grossed out by the idea of taking a medicine distilled from frog mucus, just be thankful you aren’t living in ancient Russia, when people first discovered the medicinal benefits of frogs by dropping them milk jugs helped keep the milk from going bad.)

For this flu season, though, don’t expect any miracle cures. Get that flu shot soon!

If you’re interested in beginning your own career in health care, contact Unitek College today for information on our many available health care programs, classes, and online options.

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Are State Favoring Nurses with BSN’s?

Jennifer Matton of Abington, PA had to carve time out of her busy schedule to go back to school for the 3rd time to obtain her BSN. Matton, a mother of four boys and a registered nurse (RN) at Abington Memorial Hospital, noticed a trend of hospitals preferring nurses with BSNs versus RNs.

Hospitals in New York and New Jersey are starting a quiet trend as talks of possibly passing legislation that will require nurses to have a bachelor in nursing have been brewing. The law, nicknamed “BSN-in-ten,” has yet to be enforced or finalized however, some hospitals have already implemented that requirement in their hiring process. The legislation states that current registered nurses in those states are given 10 years to return to school and obtain their degrees in order to keep their licenses and practices.*

The push for this act started back in 1974 and was approved in 1985 however, due to many objections, implementation of the act stalled. The main argument against this legislation is that experience overpowers classroom learning. Also, that due to the shortage of registered nurses and hospital schedule demands; it would be a hard requirement to enforce.

Matton believes in this requirement due to the importance of the required decision making of her profession.

“It blows me away how much influence nurses have on serious treatment decisions,” Matton said. “After going back to school, I think more critically about what we’re doing, and I have a better understanding of why we’re doing it.”*

This trend may carry across the U.S. as cities in Rhode Island and Long Island are considering to follow in New York and New Jersey’s footsteps. Matton decided to go back to school to obtain her BSN after noticing the trend that hospitals prefer to hire nurses with higher degrees. Regardless if this law is enforced in your state or not, knowing that hospitals prefer a nurse with a higher degree, wouldn’t you like to gain an edge with an advance degree? Contact us to find out how.

*BSN-in-10 act will require nurses to obtain a BAN in 10 years. (Source:, 01/2012).

*Jennifer Matton returned to school for the 3rd time to obtain her BSN and quote from her. (Source:, 06/2012).

*Rhode Island and Long Island are considering applying the BSN-in-10 act in their cities (Source:, 03/2011)

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Unitek College Welcomes Veterans Back to School

There were many reasons why Lannel De Los Reyes chose to pursue a nursing career. The most compelling reason was watching her dad suffer through rheumatoid arthritis and gout. She decided to dedicate her life to helping others.

“It just motivated me to become a nurse and take care of people, especially my loved ones,” Reyes said.

Reyes served six years active duty with the Air Force and decided to use her GI Bill to attend Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program in Fremont, CA. Her ultimate goal is to graduate with a Bachelor in Nursing (BSN) and return to the military.

In the same nursing classroom sits another fellow Air Force veteran, Grecia Benitez. One of Benitez’s motivations to enlist into the Air Force directly out of high school was the educational benefits. After completing 5 years of service, Benitez was ready to start on her career path. During an open house tour at Unitek College, she found the start of her nursing career with the Vocational Nursing program.

Benitez’s plan after college is slightly different from Reyes’s.  While Benitez does not shy away from the idea of returning to the military, she is currently focused on completing the Vocational Nursing program and continuing on to become a Registered Nurse through Unitek College’s LVN to RN bridge program. After finishing school, Benitez plans to either pursue a nursing career in a hospital or rejoin the Air Force.

Benitez and Reyes share both a dedication to their country and a desire to achieve higher learning. The Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI bill, amongst other Veterans Assistance (VA) benefits, reward veterans for their service and allow them to pursue higher education.  Although many institutions have yet to accept VA benefits, Unitek College made accepting VA benefits a top priority to make quality education available to America’s returning vets.

The majority of healthcare training programs offered by Unitek College are VA approved. “Unitek College is 100% committed to assisting our dedicated service men and women in making a successful transition into civilian life. Our main priority is to help them obtain the necessary education and training that can be parlayed into a lasting and rewarding career. Serving our veterans is a privilege we don’t take lightly.” Navraj Bawa, COO and Executive Vice President, Unitek College stated in a press release.

“If nursing is what you want to do…I would definitely recommend this school”, Benitez said.

Unitek College anticipates growth in enrollments from veterans who are looking to achieve their goals of higher education. This is particularly true with the recent deep budgetary cuts at public schools. Reyes, in advising other veterans said, “Definitely take advantage of your GI bill. That is part of why I joined the military.”

Are you a VA looking to get into the field of nursing?  Unitek College offers Training in Vocational NursingRegistered Nursing (LVN to RN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN).  Contact us today at 888-735-4355 to see how you can get started on a very rewarding career as a nurse.

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Unitek College Earns the Title of Military Friendly School

Military families are finding more options for higher education at Unitek College of California. G.I. Jobs magazine recently named Unitek College’s Fremont campus to its 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools®. Not every institute of higher education is qualified to be a military friendly school. G.I. Jobs reserves the prestigious title for just the top 15 percent of VA-approved, accredited colleges, universities and trade schools that fully support the G.I. lifestyle.

The school earned its military friendly stripes by providing exceptional educational programs and superior financial assistance for qualified U.S. service veterans and spouses. Unitek College is a nationally accredited school and particularly well-suited to military lifestyles.

Specific Unitek College courses directed to veterans and G.I.s would include Medical Assistant (MA), Pharmacy Technician (PT), Vocational Nurse (VN), Registered Nurse (LVN to RN), LVN to RN Transitional Associate Degree Nursing Program (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Unitek College also offers training in the areas of Accounting, however, this programs is not yet eligible for VA funding.

Veterans looking to complete LVN training or LVN to RN training will find a wealth of educational resources and financial assistance at Unitek College. The school is wholly dedicated to the success of its students. In fact, an astonishing 92 percent of nurses who complete Unitek College’s RN course will also pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) — more than any other non-profit private vocational school in the area.

Abundant G.I. benefits are available to help service personnel and veterans stay in school, and Unitek College is a champion in this field. For example, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill provides housing and financial support for qualified veterans and their families. Another helpful benefit is the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which provides up to 36 months of financial assistance toward higher education. Military survivors and dependents may benefit from the Dependents Education Assistance program, which can provide up to 45 months of financial funding for eligible students. Additionally, Unitek College proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for G.I.s, wherein tuition monies donated by the school are matched by the Veteran’s Administration.

It is hard to imagine a more supportive environment for military families than Unitek College. Qualified G.I.s and veterans who desire a quality education can find a wealth of on-campus resources, expert guidance and financial assistance there. Unitek College well-deserves its designation as one of the top military friendly schools in the U.S.

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Military Veterans can now get VA Benefits for their Healthcare Training

Military personnel looking to use their VA education benefits by enrolling in college now have another excellent option – Unitek College. The majority of healthcare training programs offered by Unitek College are VA approved. The school provides accredited training in fast-growing careers such as medical assistant, pharmacy technician, licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse and Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Unitek College Administrators are excited to help veterans meet their educational and career goals once they complete military service. Most military veterans are looking to enter a rewarding career as quickly as possible, which is why Unitek College’s healthcare training programs are ideal. For example, the school’s Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN Program) is designed to be completed in just 11 months. Students also receive employment assistance increasing the chances they will land that dream job.

Unitek College’s healthcare programs are perfect for veterans looking to receive hands-on training. The institution’s programs feature:

  • NCLEX Passing Assistance (for nursing majors)
  • All Inclusive Pricing
  • Employment Assistance
  • Hands-On Experience
  • Financial Aid (for those that qualify)
  • Experienced Instructors


About VA Education Benefits

There are currently two veteran education benefits programs: the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill. Both programs are designed to assist veterans in achieving postsecondary training through financial assistance.

The Post 9/11 Bill provides tuition coverage up to $17,550 per academic year. In addition, the student receives funding for books, supplies, and housing. The plan separates its payouts to students according to the type of educational expense.

Under the Montgomery GI Bill, qualifying veterans receive benefits dependent on a variety of factors (length of service, education level, etc.) and vary for Active Duty or Selected Reserve. For further information about the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill, veterans should speak with a military benefits officer or a financial aid professional.

About Unitek College

Unitek College, located in Fremont, California, is a fast-growing leader in providing career training for the pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare fields. The vocational school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Programs offered include medical assisting training, pharmacy technician training, vocational nursing training, registered nursing training, and Bachelor’s degree in nursing. To learn more about VA Education benefits with Unitek College, visit