Manuka honey could help fight superbugs

Specially filtered manuka honey is already used in a variety of licensed wound-care products around the globe, but now scientists have discovered it could be used to combat difficult to treat infections resistant to certain antibiotics.

The research, which was conducted at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, found that the honey helped to clear bacteria from wounds and contaminated hospital surfaces.

Professor Rose Cooper explained that the efficacy of the honey is a result of its ability to break down the wall of defence that bacteria uses against antibiotics, making it useful in treating certain superbug infections.

Professor Cooper’s research involved two common types of bacteria, streptococci and pseudomonads, in which the manuka honey was able to deter the attachment of bacteria to tissue. The attachment is an essential step in the development of acute infections, and in the process of stopping it the honey was also able to block the formation of biofilms which protect bacteria from antibiotics allowing them to cause infections.

The research also also found that the honey was able to make MRSE more responsive to certain medications such as oxacillin by reversing the antibiotic resistance.

“This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey.” She said.

Professor Cooper warned people not to try and emulate the research using honey bought from the supermarket and stressed that the honey used in the research was medical grade.

She concluded that the next step would be to look at more combinations with antibiotics and to do some clinical work in patients.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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