Scientists at the University of Surrey have discovered that a natural antioxidant commonly found in green tea can help eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, found that epigallocatechin (EGCG) can restore the activity of aztreonam, an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa or more commonly known as P. aeruginosa. We’re here today to tell you everything about how our favorite beverage actually has more benefits that you possibly knew.
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Difficult but not impossible
- aeruginosa is associated with serious respiratory tract and bloodstream infections and in recent years has become resistant to many major classes of antibiotics. Currently, a combination of antibiotics is used to fight P. aeruginosa. However, these infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, as resistance to last-line antibiotics is being observed.
Effective in every which way
To assess the synergy of EGCG and aztreonam, researchers conducted in vitro tests to analyze how they interacted with the P. aeruginosa, individually and in combination. The Surrey team found that the combination of aztreonam and EGCG was significantly more effective at reducing P. aeruginosa numbers than either agent alone. In addition, researchers believe that in P. aeruginosa, EGCG may facilitate increased uptake of aztreonam by increasing permeability in the bacteria. Another potential mechanism is EGCG’s interference with a biochemical pathway linked to antibiotic susceptibility.
Words from the man himself
Lead author Dr. Jonathan Betts, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey had explained that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health and how without effective antibiotics, the success of medical treatments will be compromised.
He even went on to convey the urgency for the need to develop novel antibiotics in the fight against AMR, stating that natural products such as EGCG, used in combination with currently licensed antibiotics, maybe a way of improving their effectiveness and clinically useful lifespan.