Medieval ointment recipe turns out to be the key to creating an ultra-antibiotic

The more antibiotic-resistant bacteria emerge, the further we go back to ancient times, when any scratch could be fatal due to infection. But it was from there, from the Middle Ages, that the hope of salvation suddenly came. British pharmacologists at the University of Warwick looked at a single copy of Bald's Leechbook, a 9th century medical textbook, and found a recipe that would be effective against the five most dangerous superbugs of the 21st century.

The main problem today is not the bacteria themselves, but the biofilms they form - dense and therefore resistant to external influences accumulations of microorganisms. This is a defense mechanism that the bacteria themselves have developed in response to the destruction of disparate microbes by antibiotics. It is extremely difficult to cope with biofilms, but even worse, they are now more and more often formed in places where medicines or medical instruments are used. That is, the very attempt to cure a person significantly increases the risk of infection.

The recipe found in the ancient book is surprisingly simple: a mixture of garlic, onions, wine, and bile salt. None of the components harm the cells of the human body and each has a pronounced antibacterial effect. At the same time, for example, garlic is useless against whole biofilm, but comes into effect when it is partially destroyed by other substances.

Modern version of a medieval remedy

Most antibiotics today are extracted from natural ingredients, but the focus is on substances with specific functions. Cooking potions from different components in a "witch's cauldron" is today considered a medieval relic. But after the prescription antibiotic from the old book killed five superbugs at once: Acinetobacter baumanii, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus pyogenes, the attitude towards it changed. It is possible that it is the complex formulations that will become the basis for the antibiotics of the future.