SWEDEN-BEE BACTERIA-WOUNDS Bacteria-treated honey cures wounds and offers antibiotic resistance hopeRecord ID: 571122
- Title: SWEDEN-BEE BACTERIA-WOUNDS Bacteria-treated honey cures wounds and offers antibiotic resistance hope
- Date: 9th September 2014
- Summary: LUND, SWEDEN (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF OLOFFSON EMPTYING SACHET OF SYMBEEOTIC INTO JAR OLOFSSON EMPTIES TABLE SUGAR INTO MIXTURE AND SHAKES IT 24 (SOUNDBITE) (English) LUND UNIVERSITY RESEARCHER, TOBIAS OLOFSSON (PRON: OH-LOFF-SON), SAYING: "We have already begun, actually, with humans with wounds. We have got some samples from chronic wounds looking at what kind of disease bacteria, what kind of harmful bacteria we can find in the wounds and we will try these bacteria in the lab, if they stand any chance against the lactic acid bacteria and they don't. They don't stand any chance." VARIOUS OF BEES BUZZING IN AND AROUND HIVE
- Embargoed: 24th September 2014 13:00
- Location: Sweden
- Country: Sweden
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAQBEQU12T6RYKJKMHB3VR40QN
- Story Text: Lactic acid bacteria found in the honey stomach of bees, mixed with honey itself, have been used to cure chronic wounds in horses that had proved resistant to treatment, according to treatment devised by researchers at Sweden's University of Lund, who say it could have major implications in treating human and animal wounds, as well as helping to counteract our growing resistance to antibiotics.
The team, led by researchers Alejandra Vasquez and Dr Tobias Olofsson, had already discovered last year that their formula, marketed under the name SymBeeotic, could help protect against some diseases behind bee colony collapse, another pressing concern within the scientific community.
In laboratory experiments the group of 13 bacteria consistently counteracted antibiotic-resistant Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in people, which can prove fatal.
Other severe human wound pathogens such as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) were also counteracted.
According to Olofsson, the secret lies in the broad spectrum of active substances involved.
"These 13 different lactic acid bacteria, they produce so many different products, so many new antibiotics and other compounds that together are very hard to build up any resistance against," he said.
The bacteria are stored in the bee's honey stomach where nectar is stored, separate from the bee's gut.
For thousands of years raw honey has been used against infections, long before honey was processed and sold.
According to the team, commercial honey doesn't contain this bacteria, because it has been processed and sterilised, and is old by the time it is sold.
In addition, because honey crystallises with age, it loses much of its water content, causing these crucial bacteria to die.
Vasquez's solution was to reintroduce the good bacteria into sterilised honey after letting them grow and multiply.
When the mix of honey and lactic acid bacteria is applied against bacteria causing infections, the micro-organisms produce various antimicrobial substances, killing off - among others - antibiotic-resistant germs.
"It's actually the living bacteria that is the key ingredient in that. We can take this old medicine into a new level, in which we can standardise, for instance, a mixture of honey with this bacteria in a high concentration and viable and then put it back and try to mimic, as I said, this natural fresh honey and put it into chronic wounds," said Vasquez.
When tested on ten horses suffering from persistent wounds known as Equine Pastern Dermatitis (EPD), the bacteria healed each animal within three weeks, a result that astonished Vasquez.
"The healing has been between eight days until three weeks, but they all have healed, the chronic wounds," she said.
"We got so amazed because we thought, okay, this could be, we thought in our discovery that this could be possibly alternative tool for antibiotics, but we didn't expect such good results," she said.
The team's next step is to undertake trials of SymBeeotic on humans whose wounds have proved impossible to treat.
Olofsson - whose work with bees can be traced back to his grandfather who kept the stinging insects for an astonishing 81 years until his death last year aged 99 - is upbeat about their chances of success.
"We have already begun, actually, with humans with wounds," he said.
"We have got some samples from chronic wounds looking at what kind of disease bacteria, what kind of harmful bacteria we can find in the wounds and we will try these bacteria in the lab, if they stand any chance against the lactic acid bacteria and they don't. They don't stand any chance," he added.
If human trials are successful it could help doctors overturn the growing threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, in both First World countries, and also in the developing world where fresh honey is more readily accessible than antibiotics.
In recent years antibiotic resistance has become a critical issue for global health, with an ever increasing number of strains of bacteria developing immunity.
Vasquez and Olofsson have formed two start-up companies - ConCellae and ApiCellae, which sell SymBeeotic sachets directly to the public, along with a series of other honey-based products containing the 13 lactic acid mixture, including a hangover cure called Hang 13.
The research was published this week in International Wound Journal.
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