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First honey based wound dressing available in NZ

Media Release

First honey based wound dressing available in New Zealand

Innovative Kiwi research helping patients heal naturally

Paengaroa, 20th March 2005 - Comvita ApiNate™ honey based wound dressings
are now available in New Zealand. The dressings are the first medical product to be developed and launched in New Zealand by the NZAX listed company.

The new dressings contain active Manuka honey which research has demonstrated is a more effective honey for assisting wound management because of its Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®). Combined with a highly absorbent alginate (seaweed) fibre, ApiNate dressings create the ideal moist healing environment.

Clinical trials show honey’s antibacterial properties are proven to assist wound healing1-6. Manuka Honey has also been shown in one study to be a useful adjunct in the treatment of antibiotic resistant wounds8.

Comvita Chief Executive Graeme Boyd said the arrival of ApiNate has been keenly anticipated by the medical profession. “The idea came from clinical practitioners and our job has been to make the product available on the wider market. We have absolute confidence in the dressing’s potential to both improve patient care and reduce the cost of wound care with shortened healing times. ApiNate is available for use in New Zealand and Australia and has CE mark accreditation which allows us to make the product available across the European Union.”

Some New Zealand district health boards and residential care homes are already using ApiNate. Honey wound dressings can be applied to a wide range of wound types providing antibacterial protection, reducing scarring, controlling odour, and encouraging tissue re-growth.1-7

ApiNate dressings were developed in partnership with Professor Peter Molan of the University of Waikato who has researched and developed medical uses for honey products for the last 15 years. “Honey based healing is not a new concept and was used for hundreds of years before modern antibiotics were developed. With antibiotic resistance becoming an increasing problem for wound treatment, research is once again turning its focus to the unique properties of honey,” says Professor Molan. “Selection of the best honey for medical use and modern developments in dressing materials to hold the honey on the wound are greatly improving results.”

“We are delighted the dressings are now available here, particularly as the research and development was initiated in New Zealand. We are continuing to explore other uses of medical honey, which is proving to have even more applications than we had originally hoped. The results from this dressing have been excellent and the reception so far from the medical community and from patients has been very encouraging.”

“The time spent consulting and involving practitioners in real clinical situations during a long nine year development phase gives a great deal of confidence in the effectiveness of these dressings” says Professor Molan.

A New Zealand-based clinical trial, currently underway, is measuring against standard treatment the healing effect of Manuka honey as a treatment for leg ulcers in the elderly 9. The ‘Honey as Adjuvant Leg Ulcer Therapy’ or HALT trial is recruiting patients through district nurses from the central Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waikato District Health Boards, and Christchurch’s Nurse Maude Association. The research, supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, is exploring the comparative effectiveness of the new dressing in a particularly difficult to heal patient group.


For more information contact Comvita on 0800 504 959 or visit

About ApiNate :

Comvita ApiNate contains UMF Active Manuka Honey and Alginate Fibre. It has anti-bacterial properties and is an absorbent, non-adherent, CE marked medical device. Features include: Antibacterial protection; osmotic action; moist healing environment; reduced scarring; odour control; easy to change; wound tissue re growth; debriding (removal of dead tissue); absorbency.
UMF is a measurement of phyto-chemical (non-hydrogen peroxide based) antibacterial activity that is present within certain Manuka honey.
Always seek advice from a healthcare professional prior to use. ApiNate may be used on partial and full thickness wounds.
Side Effects
- Stinging may occur on application, it should ease as wound inflammation lessens. If pain persists, wash off
- ApiNate contains high levels of glucose. No instance of increased levels of sugar in the bloodstream has been reported, however it is advisable to monitor diabetic patients blood sugar levels
Contraindications: Do not use if allergic to bee venom or honey.

About Comvita:

Comvita is a New Zealand based natural health product listed company. Sales in 2004 were in excess of NZ$27 million. Comvita has a wholly owned subsidiary in Japan and a branch office in Taiwan; other key export markets include Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. In the 2003 Trade New Zealand Export Awards Comvita was ‘Exporter of the Year’ in the Consumer Products category. Comvita Medical is a division of Comvita; products include ApiNate and WoundcareTM 18+.


1. Subrahmanyam, M (1998) A prospective randomised clinical and histological study of superficial burn wound healing with honey and silver sulfadiazine. Burns 24: 157-161
2. Vardi A et al. (1998) Local application of honey for treatment of neonatal postoperative wound infection. Acta Paediatrica 87 (4): 429-432
3. Al-Waili NS & Saloom KY. (1999) Effects of topical honey on post-operative wound infections due to gram positive and gram negative bacteria following caesarean sections and hysterectomies. European Journal of Medical Research 4:126-130
4. Dunford, C. E.; Hanano, R. (2004). Acceptability to patients of a honey dressing for non-healing venous leg ulcers. Journal of Wound Care 13 (5): 193-1975. Cooper RA et al. (2001) The use of honey in healing a recalcitrant wound following surgical treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 20: 758-759
6. Dunford C et al. (2000) The use of honey in wound management. Nursing Standard 15 (11): 63-687. Dunford, C.; Cooper, R.; Molan, P. C. (2000).
7. Using honey as a dressing for infected skin lesions. Nursing Times 96 (14 NT-plus): 7-9
8. Natarajan S et al. (2001) Healing of an MRSA-colonized, hydroxyurea-induced leg ulcer with honey Journal of Dermatological Treatment 12: 33-36
9. HALT Trial. Data on file. TAPS Approval Number: PP1866

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