The Instagram logo

Science discovers the power of manuka honey

Scientists have devised a treatment combining a powerful antibiotic with manuka honey to treat a lethal bacterial lung infection while at the same time reducing drug side-effects.

Aston University researchers combined the antibiotic amikacin with manuka honey as a novel treatment for Mycobacterium abscessus.

Manuka honey is known to have wide ranging medicinal properties, but more recently has been identified for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. The scientists found that it has the potential to kill a number of drug-resistant bacterial infections such as Mycobacterium abscessus which usually affects patients with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis.

They used samples of the bacteria taken from 16 infected cystic fibrosis patients to discover what dosage was required to kill the bacteria.

As part of the study the team used a lab-based lung model and nebuliser – a device that produces a fine spray of liquid often used for inhaling a medicinal drug. By nebulising manuka honey and amikacin together, it was found they could improve bacterial clearance even when using lower doses of amikacin, which would result in less life-changing side-effects to the patient.

Until now it has been virtually impossible to eradicate Mycobacterium abscessus in people with cystic fibrosis.

Dr Jonathan Cox, senior lecturer in microbiology at Aston University, said: “By combining a totally natural ingredient such as manuka honey with amikacin, one of the most important yet toxic drugs used for treating Mycobacterium abscessus, we have found a way to potentially kill off these bacteria with eight times less drug than before.”

Read more Insights here...