Garlic compound beats antibiotic-resistant bug

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Doe, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Doe

    Doe Guest

    Garlic compound beats antibiotic-resistant bug

    - 24/12/2003 - A compound extracted from garlic is effective against even the most antibiotic-
    resistant strains of MRSA, the 'hospital superbug' that now kills thousands of patients in the UK
    each year, reports a British researcher.

    Microbiologist Dr Ron Cutler, based at the University of East London, claims that the garlic
    compound allicin not only kills established varieties of MRSA, but also destroys the new generation
    of 'super-superbugs' that have evolved resistance to Vancomycin and Glycopeptides, the powerful
    antibiotics widely considered to be the last line of defence against MRSA. Allicin can cure patients
    with MRSA-infected wounds within weeks, according to a paper to be published early next year.

    MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) now causes an estimated 2,000 deaths in UK
    hospitals each year, mainly through secondary infection of surgical wounds. MRSA organisms can live
    harmlessly in humans and are carried in the nasal passages and on the skin, but they can cause fatal
    infection in immune-suppressed patients, the elderly, the young and those with surgical implants.

    Doctors have become increasingly alarmed over the past few months by the emergence in UK hospitals
    of new generations of resistant strains of MRSA known as VISAs and GISAs (Vancomycin or Glycopeptide-
    resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA has also become endemic in many hospitals, especially in
    London and the south-east of England.

    After showing that allicin destroys the MRSA microbe in laboratory trials, Cutler has now teamed up
    with the firm Allicin International to develop topical treatments including a nasal cream, oral
    capsules and soaps that have proved effective against both MRSA and GISA.

    The company has also provided funding for a major clinical trial to test the use of allicin to
    reduce nasal carriage on around 200 healthy volunteers. Initial results are due to be published in
    summer 2004.

    "The trials we have conducted so far show that this formulation is highly effective against MRSA,
    and it could save many lives. This finding is backed up by initial findings from a number of recent
    case studies. We have been trying to set up a clinical trial for many months now, and at last we
    have secured funding from sources including Allicin International,” said Dr Cutler.

    The in vitro research was presented at the Institute of Biomedical Scientists congress in Birmingham
    during October and is being prepared for publication in the Journal of Biomedical Science next year.

    "MRSA is causing a genuine crisis in our hospital system in Britain and worldwide. Antibiotics are
    increasingly ineffective, but we do have a powerful natural ally. Garlic has been used in medicine
    for centuries, and it should be no surprise that it is effective against this very modern infectio,"
    added Cutler.

    A study published last year found that raw garlic consumption could help limit the damage done to
    the heart after surgery because of its natural antioxidant properties. Supplements of allicin have
    also been shown to reduce risk of colds, prevent high blood pressure and kill cancer cells.

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