Keanu Reeves, Fungus-Fighting Machine?

Scientists name chemical compounds that fight fungal infections after the butt-kicking actor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2023 11:54 AM CST
Keanu Reeves, Fungus-Fighting Machine?
Keanu Reeves is seen arriving at the premiere of the film "John Wick: Chapter 4" on Monday in London.   (Alberto Pezzali/Invision/AP)

The cordyceps fighters in The Last of Us could definitely use some Keanu Reeves—not the tough heroes he plays in The Matrix, Speed, or John Wick, but a trio of fungus-killing chemical compounds that have now been named after the actor. Per CNN, a study was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in which German researchers found that bacteria-dwelling molecules called lipopeptides proved to be an effective treatment against fungal infections in both plants and humans.

Enter Reeves into the picture. "The lipopeptides kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles," lead author Sebastian Gotze says in a release about the antimicrobials, called keanumycins. "We were just basically blown away by the high activity," Gotze adds, per the Washington Post. "That's why we basically said, 'Yeah, it's like an assassin, a hit man or something, killing a couple of different fungi very effectively."

The discovery is a big one, as antifungals have been shown to be losing their efficacy against certain organisms. Future uses for keanumycins could include use in medicines, especially to assist with what Gotze calls an "antibiotic crisis" in hospitals. The 58-year-old actor himself got wind of his new honor and responded in a Reddit Q&A over the weekend. "They should've called it John Wick ... but that's pretty cool ... and surreal for me," Reeves wrote. "But thanks, scientist people! Good luck, and thank you for helping us." (More Keanu Reeves stories.)

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