WARNING: Articles of veterinarians contain images which are aimed at the specialist audience.

A discovery that can save human lives – Antibiotics with silver

A new discovery was made by scientists from Olomouc. They noticed that in combination with the precious metal, antibiotics earlier ineffective, functioned again.

Antibacterial effects of silver have been known for centuries. „In ancient Rome, silver coins were placed in jugs with milk to retain its freshness,“ adds one of the researches, Aleš Panáček, from the department of physical chemistry from the faculty of Natural Sciences of Palacký University in Olomouc. Moravian scientists returned to the ancient knowledge and tested it again in the field of medicine. Initially, antibacterial effects of silver were confirmed in 2006, with results published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Later on, they specifically tested the bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

“We decided to mix nanoparticles of silver with the antibiotics and noticed a vastly improved effect. In practical application, this will lead to better efficiency of antibiotics at lower concentrations, therefore lower chance for side effects.

The following discovery was even more thrilling. Bacteria, previously showing resistance to certain drugs were susceptible again. Antibiotic resistance poses a great threat to people, who may die from infectious disease, due to lack of effective drugs.

The research will continue on animal models. „The principle was verified in the lab and efficiency was shown in local application in the form of creams and hydrogels. Currently we are going further with animal tests, “said Milan Kolář, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine from the university in Olomouc.

Silver nanoparticles currently do not find use in medicine, in spite of research of other scientific teams. „They could not achieve as great results as us- i.e. such a great improvement of antibacterial activity at such low nanoparticle concentrations“- adds Panáček.

Czech doctors are impatiently expecting future results of the research.

“We are talking about a new way of applying the natural antibacterial properties of silver. Enhancement of the effect of antibiotics would mean a great leap in treatment the rise of bacterial resistance, let us hope that the new discovery will find a practical application as soon as possible” adds Otakar Nyč from the Institute of Medical Microbiology of the University Hospital Motol.

Antibiotics cease to work. It is mainly caused by their overuse. According to the director of State Institute for Drug Control Pavel Březovský, 10 out of 20 antibiotics are totally useless. “In some patients where antibiotics stop working, the only way to help is to support the patient’s immune system to deal with the infection by itself” concludes Nyč.

Source: Lidové noviny 23. 7. 2013
Autor: Veronika Rodriguez