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Sticky treatment for staph infections

10:17am, June 5, 2007

From Toronto, at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology

Honey made by bees pollinating a New Zealand bush can gum up bacteria, offering a potential new therapy for difficult-to-treat infections.

A scourge of hospitals, the pathogen called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus defies most antibiotics. But a handful of case reports notes that slathering manuka-bush honey on wound dressings seems to reverse staph infection.

The edible honey failed to sell in New Zealand because of its bitter taste, but for hospitals, it may be just what the doctor ordered.

Rose Cooper of the University of Wales Institute at Cardiff turned an electron microscope on S. aureus growing in petri dishes and saw that many of the bacteria got stuck after encountering manuka honey. The cells began to divide but then stopped. "It looks like they can't complete the cell cycle," she says.

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