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Combining an antibiotic with the compound that gives vanilla its rich taste may stop the spread of drug-resistant superbugs, new research suggests.
Mixing the drug spectinomycin with vanillin increases the antibiotic's ability to enter bacterial cells and prevent their growth, a German study found today.
Spectinomycin - 1960s - Gonorrhoea - STI - Resistance
Spectinomycin was initially used in the 1960s to treat gonorrhoea until the STI developed resistance to it.
Experts have previously warned antibiotic resistance poses 'as big a risk as terrorism'.
Lack - Drugs - Overprescribing - Resistance - Crisis
A lack of new drugs combined with overprescribing is thought to have driven the resistance crisis, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 'has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country.'
How the research was carried out
Researchers - European - Molecular - Biology - Laboratory
Researchers, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, exposed almost 3,000 drug and food additive combinations to three different disease-causing bacteria.
More than 500 mixes boosted antibiotics' effectiveness.
Selection - Combinations - Bacteria - Hospital - Patients
A selection of these combinations were then tested in multi-drug resistant bacteria taken from infected hospital patients.
Speaking of the combination of spectinomycin and vanillin, study author Dr Ana Rita Brochado said: 'This was one of the most effective and promising synergies we identified.'
Vanillin - Effectiveness - Antibiotics - Health
Vanillin also reduces the effectiveness of other antibiotics, which could actually benefit human health.
Coauthor Nassos Typas explained: 'Antibiotics can lead to collateral damage and side effects because they...
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