AncientBiotics to fight Modern Era Super Bugs?

With the alarmingly increased usage of Antibiotics, “Super Bugs” or Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have become a very big issue in modern day medicine. MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is one such “Super Bug” for which scientists are trying to find a cure or a control method. MRSA bacterium is resistant to most of the commonly used antibiotics and only very few antibiotics including Vancomycin and teicoplanin can be used to to treat MRSA infections.

But an ancient remedy used for eye infections could become an effective treatment to control MRSA infections, experts have said.

Dr Christina Lee a language specialist from the School of English, Nottingham University  translated the recipe from a 1000 yrs old “Bald’s Leechbook” an Old English leather-bound volume in the British Library which includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile.

By NIAID/NIH (NIAID Flickr’s photostream) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
University microbiologist, Dr Freya Harrison has led the work in the laboratory at Nottingham with Dr Steve Diggle and Research Associate Dr Aled Roberts.

Dr Kendra Rumbaugh carried out in vivo testing of the Bald’s remedy on MRSA infected skin wounds in mice at Texas Tech University in the United States. Dr Rumbaugh said: “We know that MRSA infected wounds are exceptionally difficult to treat in people and in mouse models. We have not tested a single antibiotic or experimental therapeutic that is completely effective; however, this ‘ancient remedy’ performed as good if not better than the conventional antibiotics we used.”

According to a press release issued by the University of Nottingham, this remedy have been able to kill more than 90% of MRSA bacteria and they believe it’s the effect of the recipe and not of a single ingredient.

According to Dr. Harrison, there is a pressing need to develop new strategies against pathogens because the cost of developing new antibiotics is high and eventual resistance is likely. This truly cross-disciplinary project explores a new approach to modern health care problems by testing whether medieval remedies contain ingredients which kill bacteria or interfere with their ability to cause infection.

Dr Freya Harrison presented the findings at the Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology which starts on Monday 30th March 2015 in Birmingham.


Source – University of Nottingham Press release