Thursday , April 15 2021

Ancestral knowledge can be the solution to bacterial resistance

When the world is in a red alert, because we risk (unfortunately, without users realizing the dangers) to get rid of antibiotics, 2019 seems to have begun with the right foot – or at least the tip – about public health . Today, the picture is that: antibiotic-resistant superbubs could only kill up to 1.3 million people in Europe by 2050 and for the World Health Organization the lack of antibiotics to combat them is "one of the greatest threats for global health, food security and current development. "

The good news comes from Wales: a team from Swansea University Medical School, consisting of researchers from Wales, Brazil, Iraq and Northern Ireland, has discovered a new strain of bacteria – called Streptomyces sp. myopathy – which can inhibit the growth of multi-resistant pathogens. And he found it incredibly in the mud.

The Land of Druids

The soil that they analyzed is located in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, known as the Boho Highlands, and is said to have healing properties. It does not seem a coincidence that the area was occupied by the Druids 1500 years ago and the Neolithic 4,000 years ago.

One of the team members, Gerry Quinn, the former Boho resident, was aware of the fact that traditionally a small amount of earth was wrapped in a cloth and used to heal toothache and throat and neck infections.

It is also not a coincidence that researchers give credibility to legends: searching for replacement antibiotics to combat multiple resistance has led scientists to explore new sources, including popular medicines: a field of study known as ethno-pharmacology.


In this battle with the possible hope of "bacteria versus bacteria", the bad ones of the film are precisely some identified by the WHO as being responsible for the worst healthcare associated infections.

This new strain of bacteria is effective against four (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia and carbenepenem Acinetobacter baumanii) of the six major pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. Our discovery is an important step in the fight against antibiotic resistance, "he said. Paul Dyson, from the Swansea University School of Medicine. "Our results show that it is worth investigating folklore and traditional drugs in search of new antibiotics. Scientists, historians and archaeologists may have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem could be in the wisdom of the past, "he added.

But it must be clear: for now, it's just hope, because it is not yet clear – although the team is already investigating – which component of the new strain prevents the growth of pathogens.

The molecule that generates the antibacterial action needs to be very different from those developed so far to combat resistance. Bacteria are very intelligent to survive and beat us through the rapid creation of mechanisms that inactivate antibiotics, "said the Tucumán infectologist for LA GACETA. Monica Herbst. "The bacteria have been isolated, but there is a long way to study to produce a new antibiotic, and later animal experiments and clinical trials in humans. And the pharmaceutical industry must also be interested because it has to make a huge investment in developing a new drug, "he added.

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