UK Researchers Uncover 1,000-Year-Old Remedy Could Fight Superbugs

University of Nottingham Researchers Find Medieval Remedy Could Fight Superbug Infections

superbugIn February this year, UCLA and other hospitals across the US reported outbreaks of superbug CRE – carbapenem-resistent Enterobacteriaceae – related to abdominal procedures conducted with duodenoscopes. The hospitals insisted that they properly cleaned the instruments after each surgery, further contending that superbugs are particularly difficult to get rid of.

Superbug infections are also becoming more common, many health and safety advocates believe, because more patients take antibiotics, and hospitals rigorously sterilize every surface. While these procedures are important in preventing outbreaks and infections from standard bacteria and viruses, superbugs are evolving more rapidly in an environment that cannot fight them off.

The concern over hospital-acquired infections and superbugs has recently led to intense research in the medical community to find the best way to fight off these diseases. Scientists at the University of Nottingham have found an ancient medicinal remedy which, they said, destroys MRSA.

The 1,000-year-old eye treatment, made from garlic, onions, leeks, wine, and bile from a cow’s stomach, is brewed and left to sit in a brass pot for 9 days. Researchers said they followed the recipe as closely as they could, and it turned out to be very effective in killing the superbug staph.

Christina Lee, an expert in Anglo-Saxon history at U of Nottingham, partnered with microbiologists there to determine if the ancient remedy was indeed effective. She said that she and researchers became interested in this particular recipe because garlic is thought to be a good antibacterial agent.

“The ingredients don’t work on their own — it isn’t a single one, but the combination of ingredients that works,” Lee said.

“We let our artificial ‘infections’ grow into dense, mature populations called ‘biofilms,’ where the individual cells bunch together and make a sticky coating that makes it hard for antibiotics to reach them,” Freya Harrison, a microbiologist at the University of Nottingham, said in a statement. “But unlike many modern antibiotics, Bald’s eye salve has the power to breach these defenses.”

“Of course there are bizarre things in some of these recipes when we judge them today, but people observed some of these treatments work, and we’ve seen that it can work even today,” Lee said. “We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab. We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings.”

“The rise of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the lack of new antimicrobials in the developmental pipeline are key challenges for human health,” said 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.”

The Strom Law Firm Helps Patients Suffering Hospital-Acquired Infections

If you or a loved one were hospitalized for routine surgery and have since suffered a hospital-acquired infection that left you disabled, sick, or resulted in the death of a loved one, then you may have a claim against the hospital. Hospital negligence and error is too common, and can result in a host of personal injuries including wrong-site surgery, superbug infection, or the wrong medication. The South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer a free, confidential case evaluation to discuss your injury, so contact us today. 803.252.4800



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