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This Tree Bark Could Help Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, and parasites evolve to become insusceptible to treatment options like antibiotics. This type of resistance is incredibly dangerous, and it’s the reason why you should always finish up the entire cycle of antibiotics if prescribed. As a result, antimicrobial resistance has quickly become one of the most serious risks to public health across the globe.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the Naresuan and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat Universities in Thailand want to bridge the gap by discovering new potential antibacterials. The team recently began thoroughly studying hydroquinine, which is found in the bark of various trees.

Hydroquinine has been shown to effectively treat malaria, but otherwise its potential is still untapped in the minds of many researchers.

“Using bacterial killing experiments,” as explained by Dr. Robert Baldock, whose research was published in the journal Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, “we found that hydroquinine was able to kill several microorganisms including the common multidrug-resistant pathogen pseudomonas aeruginosa.

If tree bark can help combat drug-resistant bacteria, thousands of lives could be saved

“Characteristically,” the author added, “we also discovered that one of the main mechanisms used by these bacteria to escape killing activity of the drug was upregulated with treatment – indicating a robust response from the bacteria.

“By studying this compound further, our hope is that it may in future offer another line of treatment in combatting bacterial infections.”

Close to 3 million infections are caused by drug-resistant bacteria annually around the world. Pneumonia, UTIs, and sepsis are common results of these types of bacteria. According to statistics, P. aeruginosa bloodstream infections have significant death rates of between 30% and 50%.

The Department of Medical Technology at Naresuan University’s Dr. Jirapas Jongjitwimol remarked, “Our future research aims to uncover the molecular target of hydroquinine. This would help our understanding of how the compound works against pathogenic bacteria and how it could potentially be used in a clinical setting.”

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