Resistance to antibiotics poses a significant threat to our health. Around 24–79% of the world’s population is infected with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Like other bacteria, H. pylori has grown ever more resistant to traditional treatment using antibiotics.
Indeed, drug-resistant bacteria are one of the biggest threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Some experts predict that it will cause more deaths than cancer by 2050 unless scientists can find some way to counter the threat.
However, scientists from the United Kingdom and Germany may have found an innovative way of stopping H. pylori infection without using antibiotics. Instead, they used minuscule capsules filled with natural ingredients, notably curcumin, to stop the infection. Some studies have suggested that curcumin, which is an ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
“[H. pylori] is a globally-spread pathogen. It is estimated that up to 70% of people host this pathogen worldwide,” says professor Francisco Goycoolea of the School of Food Science and Nutrition in Leeds in the UK, and co-author of the paper that the team recently published in the journal ACS Applied Bio Materials.
Goycoolea adds that scientists need to find ‘new integrated approaches to tackle antimicrobial resistance,” and must try to find new alternatives to antibiotics.
Natural ingredients like Turmeric could offer a new means to deter a globally-spread ‘superbug’ pathogen.”
In 2017, the WHO included antibiotic-resistant H. pylori strains as a high priority pathogen on their list of drug-resistant bacteria that present the biggest threat to global health.
Resistance occurs because bacteria change and adapt, meaning that antibiotics can no longer cure bacterial infections. Although resistance does happen naturally, the inappropriate use of antibiotics to cure colds, for example, has exacerbated the situation.
At the moment, doctors treat superbugs with a cocktail of antibiotics, which has only served to encourage resistant strains.
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