Bees vs. Superbugs

April 13th, 2011
in econ_news

bee Econintersect:  Honey has long been used as medicine and had antisceptic applications for millennia before being replaced by antibiotics in the twentieth century.  According to an article in The Independent, a particular honey from New Zealand is greater than ten times more powerful against infections than other honeys.

Follow up:

From The Independent:

Laboratory studies by Professor Rose Cooper and colleagues at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, show that manuka honey interacts with three bacteria that commonly infect wounds – MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Group A streptococci. "Our findings suggest that Manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections. Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of bio-films, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," Professor Cooper said.

"Honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics – effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with Manuka honey."

In the UK, the National Health Service already provides subscriptions for honey impregnated dressings and ointments.  The Manuka honey, which comes from bees collecting pollen from New Zealand's Manuka tree, contains  a component, methylglyoxal, that is not found in other honey.

In recent days there has been news (see GEI News) about "superbugs" in India.  Perhaps India needs to plant Manuka trees?

Source:  The Independent and GEI News (here and here)

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