Bees Create a Buzz in the Battle Against MRSA Superbug
Helen Puttick, The Herald (Scotland), 6/16/2010
A substance produced by bees can halt the spread of the superbug MRSA, according to Scottish researchers.
The insect creates a sticky material, called beeglue or propolis, to hold the sides of the beehive together and keep out germs and viruses.
Scientists at Strathclyde University have used compounds extracted from beeglue to attack MRSA strains, and found they prevent the bacteria from growing.
The research team hopes propolis, taken from beehives in the Pacific region, will provide an alternative treatment to fight MRSA infections, which are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
More than 200 deaths were linked to MRSA in Scotland in 2008.
Dr Veronique Seidel, a lecturer in natural products chemistry at the university’s Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, led the research. She said: “MRSA can have a devastating impact on people who contract it and on their families, often compounding illnesses they already have.
“One of the few available drugs to treat MRSA infections is an antibiotic called vancomycin. But new strains have been emerging which show limited susceptibility, or even resistance, to vancomycin.
“This means that there is a pressing need to discover and develop alternatives to current anti-MRSA drugs. We investigated propolis, as part of a programme aimed at discovering new antibiotics from natural sources, because bees use it as an antiseptic glue to seal gaps between honeycombs and preserve their hives from microbial contamination.”…