T he answer to the threat of drug-resistant superbugs may have been found in green tea, according to scientists.
A series of experiments has shown that an antibiotic, which proves to be increasingly unsuitable for severe infections, regains its effectiveness in use with an active ingredient that is contained in large quantities in the beverage.
Surrey University researchers combined epigallocatechin (EGCG) with the antibiotic, finding that the combination was up to 31 percent more effective at killing harmful bacteria than the drug antibiotic alone.
EGCG, a type of catechin or natural phenol antioxidant, is also present in smaller quantities in black tea leaves and apple peel, prunes and onions.
Published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, The study focused on P. aeruginosa, the causative agent of a number of serious respiratory and circulatory infections.
In recent years, the pathogen has become increasingly resistant to Aztreona m, the main antibiotic for treatment.
However, laboratory studies on moths and human skin cells in a dish showed that EGCG softens the bacteria, making it easier for antibiotics to invade and destroy them.
The successful experiments give hope that the device can be developed for routine use in patients.