ANTIBIOTIC resistance might have giant drug companies stumped but a Hampshire doctor is winning attention with a new weapon in the fight against superbugs.

New research, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance shows that engineered honey kills a wide range of bacteria and fungi.

It can even beat drug-resistant superbugs, including MRSA, Ecoli and pseudomonas.

Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester has hailed it as potential major medical breakthrough and alternative to antibiotics for wound infections.

Honey has been used to treat wounds and burns for thousands of years. But the new substance, called Surgihoney, has been processed to enhance its natural antibacterial activity.

It works by delivering active oxygen molecules into wounds to boost people’s natural defence mechanisms, helping to improve their ability to fight infections and heal.

Dr Dryden said: “In an era of global antibiotic resistance, when a simple scratch may kill, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of a development like Surgihoney.

“Antibiotic resistance is a major global health threat which we are still slow to recognise. We need alternatives and this is where Surgihoney comes in.”

He added: “It is tempting to speculate it may be a major medical breakthrough.”

Dr Dryden said scientists had always looked to nature for answers.

“This is where the first antibiotics came from and we are still looking for solutions from the wonderful diversity of compounds produced in nature.”

Surgihoney has been developed by father and son team Ian and Stuart Staples, who live near Chichester, with the help of scientists in Ireland.

The Staples, who set up Healing Honey Ltd to develop the product, are now looking to negotiate a deal with a big woundcare company.

Ian Staples said: “We have developed a global solution for wound-care to help people from the poorest to the richest parts of the world.

“The potential for the product is so great that we are nowlooking for a global business to get it out to market.”