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Medical world buzzing over sweet solution for bugs

For immediate release
October 29, 2007

 

Medical world buzzing over sweet solution for superbugs
 

A local home-grown US FDA approved product can protect wounds from superbugs such as MRSA and VRE.

Recent studies indicate that Manuka honey may succeed where advanced drugs have failed.

Two studies have shown Comvita’s Medihoney® to be a powerful tool in clearing wounds infected with multi-drug resistant bacteria including VRE and MRSA.

“The findings of the present study add to the body of evidence and clearly show that honey has a valuable therapeutic role to play in wound care, often where modern approaches have failed,” said researchers Narelle George and Keith Cutting.

Their study1, published last month in the US-based Wounds journal, showed that Medihoney®, a medical grade antibacterial honey produced by New Zealand company Comvita, was an effective antibacterial agent when pitted against 131 specimens with multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria collected over 14 years from patient wounds.

In the same week, UK Journal of Wound Care reported on a retrospective case study2 of seven patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in their wounds and who were treated with Medihoney® wound-care products. Many of the wounds were surgical and in patients with conditions that delayed healing. Treatment involved daily dressing with antibacterial medical honey – mostly on calcium alginate dressings. Fistulas were filled with the honey.

MRSA was eradicated in all wounds without continuing antiseptic or systemic antibiotic treatment. The researchers also noted that patients accepted the treatment well, and were therefore more inclined to comply. The honey blend products also helped clean the wounds and reduce the odour.

Furthermore, in a review article³, published in the October issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice, a team looked at 18 studies covering more than 60 years and concluded "the use of honey in the surgical wards is highly recommended and patients about to undergo surgery should ask their surgeons if they could apply honey to their wounds post-operation". The research was led by Dr Fraisal Rauf Khan from a UK National Health Service Trust.

General Manager for Comvita Medical, Mr Moloney, said “these studies confirm Comvita as a global leader in the research development of specialist medical
Other recent studies have shown good results using Medihoney® dressings for patients with diabetic ulcers and in its advantage over topical antibiotics in preventing catheter-associated infections.

Mr Moloney said, “This is occurring at a time when there is growing international concern over the rising incidence and drug resistant bacteria and fewer antibiotics coming onto the market”

Researchers are calling for larger, randomised controlled studies to guide clinicians in the best use of the products for wound healing and infection control. Recent US FDA approval for a Medihoney®  wound dressing received by Comvita’s US partner Derma Sciences is likely to support this.

In Iraq, US military personnel have been using Medihoney® to treat a range of burns in a children’s burn clinic. The treatment has been an outstanding success according to clinicians, and this has been widely reported in the United States.

Comvita and Medihoney® products are available in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.


How honey heals

Has naturally occurring antibacterial properties – from hydrogen peroxide
Acidity pH 3.8 – 4.3 to help correct the pH of chronic wounds
Low water content helps clean wounds by drawing fluid away from the wound bed
Creates moist healing conditions
Helps reduce odour of chronic wounds
Helps reduce pain sometimes associated with dressing changes
Does not foster bacterial resistance or have toxic effects with long-term use
Medical grade honeys are filtered, gamma irradiated and produced under strict conditions.

Ends

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