As more antibiotics are prescribed (or over-prescribed), many bacteria are evolving, developing resistance to that drug. It is one of the most perturbing problems plaguing the pharmaceutical industry today.
The study specifically focuses on a particular drug-resistant strain of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which the World Health Organization has listed as a critical threat to human health. The drug commonly used to treat P. aeruginosa, called Aztreonam, proved ineffective against this strain, so scientists turned to natural alternatives.
The study shows that when the usual treatment of Aztreonam is combined with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound found naturally in tea, they found “significantly enhanced bacterial killing.”
They believe that the reason behind this is that the EGCG helps the drug permeate the bacteria, weakening it to make the drug more effective. They also conjecture that the tea compound may interfere with a “biochemical pathway” linked to antibiotic susceptibility.
This is by no means a cure-all solution, but as study author Jonathan Betts, from the University of Surrey, said in a statement, “natural products such as EGCG, used in combination with currently licensed antibiotics, may be a way of improving their effectiveness and clinically useful lifespan.”
Another reason to keep those teacups full!