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A natural oxidant commonly found in green tea may help eliminate antibiotic resistant bacteria, new research shows.

University of Surrey scientists have found that epigallocatechin (EGCG) can restore the activity of aztreonam, an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

P.aeruginosa which is linked to serious respiratory tract and bloodstream infections, has become resistant to many major classes of antibiotics with a combination of antibiotics used to fight the bacteria. Infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat with resistance to last line antibiotics.

The University of Surrey researchers conducted in vitro tests of EGCG and aztreonam to analyse how they interacted with P.aeruginosa individually and in combination.

The team found the combination of aztreonam and EGCG was significantly more effective at reducing P.aeruginosa than either agent alone.

University of Surrey Head of Pathology and Infectious Diseases Professor Roberto La Ragione said the World Health Organization had listed antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a critical threat to human health.

“We have shown that we can successfully eliminate such threats with the use of natural products, in combination with antibiotics already in use.

“Further development of these alternatives to antibiotics may allow them to be used in clinical settings in the future.”

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology