A SMALL medical company is winning attention with a new weapon in the fight against superbugs.
Father and son team Ian and Stuart Staples, who live in Bosham, are working with a leading NHS microbiologist to develop a new wound-care treatment based on organic honey.
New research, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance, shows the engineered honey can kill a wide range of bacteria and fungi. It can even beat drug-resistant superbugs, including MRSA, E coli and pseudomonas.
Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, has hailed it as potential major medical breakthrough and alternative to antibiotics for wound-care.
The new substance, called Surgihoney, has been processed to enhance honey’s natural antibacterial activity. It works by delivering active oxygen molecules into wounds to boost people’s natural defence mechanisms, helping to improve their ability to fight infections and heal.
It mimics what happens in nature when the body is injured and immune calls release low levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to kill invading microbes.
Surgihoney was developed by Ian and Stuart Staples with the help of scientists in Ireland. The Staples, who set up Healing Honey Ltd to develop the product, are now looking to negotiate a deal with a big wound-care company.
Ian Staples, a trained horticulturist with a strong background in business, said: “We have developed a global solution for wound-care to help people from the poorest to the richest parts of the world. The potential for the product is so great that we are now looking for a global business to get it out to market.”
Dr Dryden’s team at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester carried out laboratory experiments on a wide range of bacteria gathered from infected wounds, including superbugs.
The results showed the bio-engineered honey killed all the bacteria and fungi tested. Researchers found it was better at beating bugs than other honeys tested.
The sterile, medical honey is approved for use in the UK and other parts of the world, but is not yet commercially available.