Scientist in laboratory hold in hand microscopy slide, studying the virus bacteria

Researchers from Swansea University Medical School (Wales) were analyzing ancient soil from Ireland and discovered that it contains a new strain of bacteria, called Streptomyces sp. myrophorea. According to reports from EurekAlert!, that bacteria is believed to be effective against four of the top six antibiotic resistant superbugs, including MRSA. 

Research suggests that superbugs are "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." If they are not stopped, they could kill up to 1.3 million people in Europe by 2050.

The soil in question originated from an area of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which is known as the Boho Highlands. It is an area of alkaline grassland and the soil is reputed to have healing properties. Traditionally a small amount of soil was wrapped up in cotton cloth and used to heal many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections.

The need for replacement antibiotics has sparked a search for new sources, including folk medicines, the article said. Researchers are also focusing on environments where well-known antibiotic producers like Streptomyces can be found.

The newly-identified strain of bacteria was found to Inhibit the growth of four of the top six multi-resistant pathogens —  identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) — responsible for healthcare-associated infections: Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumonia, and Carbenepenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii.

Researchers now plan to focus on the purification and identification of the antibiotics found in the soil. They have reported to have also discovered additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure, which may cover a broader spectrum of multi-resistant pathogens.

For more information, read this full article here.