“How Baking Soda Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs”
A big hurdle to developing new treatments is that there can be a big gap between a drug’s effectiveness in the laboratory, compared with the complexity of the human body. Several research labs have recently uncovered ways bacteria can elude the standard test, making invulnerable microbes appear susceptible to treatment. But in a new study in mice, scientists at the University of California-Santa Barbara may have hit on a way to make the test more accurate, and it involves using the most pedestrian of household items.
They took the standard antibiotic susceptibility test and added sodium bicarbonate, a chemical better known as baking soda. In addition to that small box containing it in the back of your refrigerator, it’s also found in human tissue—so researchers hypothesized that using it to test superbugs would better simulate how they behave in humans. “Now the bacteria is going, ‘I’m in the body, I need to fight,’” said Michael Mahan, a professor at UC Santa Barbara and senior author of the new study.