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Garlic extract could help cystic fibrosis patients fight infection

Feb 24, 15
Garlic extract could help cystic fibrosis patients fight infection

A chemical found in garlic can kill bacteria that cause life-threatening lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis, research suggests.

The study is the first to show that the chemical - known as allicin - could be an effective treatment against a group of infectious bacteria that is highly resistant to most antibiotics.

Allicin is produced naturally by garlic bulbs to ward off a closely-related group of plant pathogens found in soil and water habitats. In the 1980s, the bacteria - known as the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) - emerged as a cause of serious and transmissible lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.

Measures to limit the spread of Bcc infections among people with cystic fibrosis have brought the number of cases down considerably. However, current therapies available to treat infections - that are potentially fatal - are limited and require the use of combinations of three to four antibiotics at a time.

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