Keanu Reeves and his roaring résumé of R-rated action films have inspired millions — including German scientists.
The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology created a new, remarkably effective fungicide and told Phys on Monday that the chemicals “kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles.”
When asked about these “keanumycins” in an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit, which Reeves used to promote his latest entry in the “John Wick” film franchise, the soft-spoken movie star shared nothing but praise — and a cheeky suggestion of his own.
“They should’ve called it John Wick…but that’s pretty cool…and surreal for me,” said Reeves wrote in the thread. “But thanks, scientist people! Good luck, and thank you for helping us.”
Keanumycins, produced by soil bacteria, have been shown to kill fungal infections in humans while leaving healthy cells alone, according to a study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. They’re harmless to plants, but lethal to fungi, and could have applications in the agriculture and health care industries.
The development of keanumycins was spurred by fungal organisms like Candida albicans, a cause of yeast infections in humans, that have grown increasingly resistant to existing treatments, Sebastian Götze, co-author of the study, explained.
“We have a crisis in anti-infectives,” Götze wrote in a statement to Phys. “Many human-pathogenic fungi are now resistant to antimycotics (antifungals) — partly because they are used in large quantities in agricultural fields.”
Fungal diseases cause colossal harvest losses from mold or rot. Fruits like grapes and strawberries are particularly vulnerable. Humans also can be afflicted with stubborn yeast and nail infections.
“Keanu Reeves plays many iconic roles in which he is extremely efficient in ‘inactivating’ his enemies,” Pierre Stallforth, another co-author of the study, told The New York Times. “The keanumycins do the same with fungi.”