Irish dirt could be part of the answer to the world’s battles against “superbugs,” those antibiotic resistance health threats that, officials estimate, could kill 1.3 million across Europe by 2050.
The report on the discovery comes in RDMag, which said researchers looking into the properties of soil from Ireland that long has been thought to have medicinal properties found it actually may.
The World Health Organization has described the looming problem of superbugs as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.”
The study of the Irish dirt found it contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria that appears to be effective against four of the top six superbugs, which now are resistant to most known antibiotics.
The report explained a team from Swansea University Medical School was working on the project, and they have named the new strain Streptomyces sp. myrophorea.
The dirt is from the area of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, also known as the Boho Highlands.
The soil, providing the base for an alkaline grassland, is reputed to have “healing properties,” the report said.
It said Dr. Gerry Quinn, part of the research team, knew about reports the soil had healing properties.
“Traditionally a small amount of soil was wrapped up in cotton cloth and used to heal many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections. Interestingly, this area was previously occupied by the Druids, around 1500 years ago, and Neolithic people 4000 years ago,” the report said.
The results of the team’s assessment proved startling.
The new strain “inhibited the growth of four of the top six multi-resistant pathogens identified by the WHO as being responsible for healthcare-associated infections: Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumonia, and Carbenepenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii.”
Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School called it an important step forward in the war over diseases that are resistant to antibiotics.
And team member Gerry Quinn said the discovery “will help in our search for new drugs to treat multi-resistant bacteria, the cause of many dangerous and lethal infections.”
Superbugs are such a threat it was no less a personality than Chuck Norris who recently pointed out the issue.
They are new forms of bacteria determined to not let anything get in their way to becoming untreatable, he said.
The problem comes about because, he said, “Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotic drugs largely through a natural evolutionary process. As common antibiotics became less effective, doctors responded by prescribing ever-stronger medications. Because many antibiotics are available without prescriptions, many people self-medicate. Adding to the problem, a significant number of patients stop taking their antibiotics before the full course is complete, a practice that can increase the risk of developing drug resistance as possibly unnoticed residual infections establish an environment for resistant bacteria to persist. Every time a bacteria is exposed to an antibiotic but is not killed by it, it has the potential to develop resistance.”
Experts have warned that ordinary medical treatments, such as hip surgeries, could become impossible because of the use and overuse of antibiotics.