While thoroughly cooking meat and washing vegetables and hands after food preparation can prevent E. coli infection, treatment for the severe stomach bug can be difficult, as antibiotics are known to make the disease worse by releasing a potent toxin into the infected person’s gut.
Now, scientists from the University of Glasgow have found a product made by natural soil-living bacteria that can successfully treat E. coli O157 – [one of] the most serious types of the bug – without producing any serious side effects.
The new study, published in Infection and Immunity, found that Aurodox, a compound first discovered in 1973 but found to be poorly active as a true antibiotic, was able to successfully block E. coli O157 infections.
Scotland has one of the highest incidences of E. coli O157 in the world, and almost half of O157 cases in Scotland are in children under 16 years of age.
The Aurodox compound was able to reduce the ability of E. coli O157 to bind to human cells and, unlike traditional antibiotics, did not cause the release of potent toxins. The researchers believe that this compound could be used as a promising future treatment of E. coli O157 infections.