A recent study suggests that a compound found in green tea could potentially play a vital role in boosting the failing antibiotics and help attack bacteria more effectively. Scientists from the University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine, Guildford, United Kingdom, in their research, examined the bacterium named Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The bacterium can cause serious infections relating to blood, skin, and the respiratory as well as the urinary tracts. Green tea has been found to contain a compound called epigallocatechin (EGCG), and medical researchers are interested in the polyphenol for various reasons. Some previous studies have also investigated if it might help treat rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation. The study has been published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.
Bacteria and fungi are becoming more resistant to the drugs that are being designed to kill them. Thus, infections that are caused by drug-resistant bacteria are not only taking longer to treat but are also becoming impossible to cure. Statistically, drug-resistant bacteria infect at least 2 million people every year, resulting in nearly 23,000 deaths in the United States, as per the Center for Disease Control and Resistance (CDC). With the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, the researchers are looking for innovative solutions to address this problem. In the latest study, the researchers combined EGCG with aztreonam, an antibiotic typically used against P. aeruginosa, and found that the combination reduced its presence in laboratory cultures. The research also looked at the interaction between the compound and the antibiotic in an animal model. The scientists used greater wax moth larvae, which they have found to be an efficient model for examining antibiotics. Even in this case, scientists found the combination to be more effective than when using each of the substances individually.
The study concludes that EGCG can increase the permeability of the bacterium’s membrane, which allows antibiotics to flow seamlessly. The lead author of the study, Dr. Jonathan Betts, says that Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a grave threat to global public health, as without a lack of effective antibiotics will affect the success of the treatments. Natural products like EGCG, when combined with licensed antibiotics, might improve their efficacy and clinically useful lifespan, adds Betts.