Dec 30 2018

The Race to find Treatments for Superbugs

Published by at 12:35 pm under Antibiotics,probiotic supplements

In the race to find treatments for Superbugs, researchers look to folk medicine and the Boho Highlands in Northern Ireland.(1,2)*
“Scientists, historians and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past.” –Professor Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School 1*

As we wrap up 2018, let’s end it on a positive note! While antibiotic resistant superbugs are not positive, there is some new research that is very promising.

Superbugs are a looming threat to the world population. If new antibiotics are not found, figures estimate that superbugs could kill approximately 10 million people annually by the year 2050. People would die from bugs that were once harmless, or easily treated with antibiotics. Due to the over prescribing of antibiotics by General Practitioners and hospitals for decades, superbugs have evolved and become resistant to any treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this problem is “…’one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.’…” (1,2)*

Superbugs have developed over time. When bacteria, fungi or viruses  are exposed too often to a particular drug,  or  antibiotics are taken incorrectly over time, bacteria learn to be resistant. It happens as a result of patients not completing their course of antibiotics or from years of ingesting small amounts of medicines through the consumption of animal products treated with antibiotics. When bacteria are exposed to drugs in amounts too small to kill them, they learn to survive treatment.  Infections like Chlamydia could become deadly. One strain of the infection gonorrhea has already become completely resistant to front line antibiotics. (1,2)*

Recently though, a team of researchers, in their quest to combat multi-resistant superbugs, made a significant discovery. This team from Swansea University Medical School and made up of researchers from Wales, Brazil, Iraq and Northern Ireland, published their discovery in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. These scientists  looked to the past and traditional medicine (also known as Folk or indigenous medicine) for the answer.  “…Traditional medicine comprises medical aspects of traditional knowledge that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness…”3*

Their research focused on an area in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland called the Boho Highlands, an area of alkaline grassland where the soil is believed to have healing properties. The team, led by Dr. Gerry Quinn, who is a previous resident of Boho, County Fermanagh, had been aware of the healing traditions of the area for many years. Approximately 1500 years ago, this area was occupied by the Druids, and Neolithic people occupied it approximately 4000 years ago. Indigenous people would wrap up small amounts of the soil from this region in a cotton cloth and use it to heal ailments such as toothaches, and throat and neck infections. The strain, which the researchers discovered, has been named Streptomyces sp. Myrophorea. They are also focusing on environments where well-known antibiotic producers like Streptomyces can be found. (1,2)*

What is significant about this finding is that Streptomyces “…Inhibited the growth of four of the top six multi-resistant pathogens identified by the WHO as being responsible for healthcare-associated infections: Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumonia, and Carbenepenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii…”(1,2)*

It also “…Inhibited both gram positive and gram negative bacteria, which differ in the structure of their cell wall; usually gram negative bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics…”(1,2)*

The team is currently investigating which component of the new strain prevents pathogen growth, something that is not yet clear.  Dr. Gerry Quinn said “…“We will now concentrate on the purification and identification of these antibiotics. We have also discovered additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure which may cover a broader spectrum of multi-resistant pathogens.”…”(1,2)*

According to Professor Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School, “…“”This new strain of bacteria is effective against 4 of the top 6 pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA. Our discovery is an important step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Our results show that folklore and traditional medicines are worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics. Scientists, historians and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past.”…”(1,2)*

The soil holds many health benefits and healing properties. This is the premise of what our powerful probiotic Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ is built upon. It is no surprise that the earth has given us yet another gift of helping its inhabitants. We will watch this news closely and anxiously wait for the results of their research. Let this be a reminder though to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary and follow the instructions as prescribed. Avoid meat and dairy treated with antibiotics, buying organic as much as possible, or avoiding it if need be.

I hope the New Year brings you much happiness, good health and well being.

Healthiest wishes,





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