Black tea to help fight terrorism

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London, Mar 13 (UNI) Drinking black tea could act as an antidote to anthrax, in the event of a potential bio-terror attack, a study revealed.

The joint American-British study concluded that a humble cup of black tea, along with protective suits and anthrax injections, could well be added to national defences against the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, commonly know as anthrax.

The team led by Prof Les Baillie of the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University and Dr Theresa Gallagher, Biodefense Institute, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Baltimore, reported that English Breakfast tea has the potential to inhibit the activity of anthrax, so long as it is taken black.

''You can drink enough to have an effect. The tea works against the bug when it is has germinated and is causing an infection,'' Prof Baillie said.

''We found that special components in tea such as polyphenols have the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax quite considerably,'' he added.

The research showed that the addition of whole milk to a standard cup of tea inhibited its activity against anthrax.

Prof Baillie said, ''I would suggest that in the event that we are faced with a potential bio-terror attack, individuals may want to forgo their dash of milk at least until the situation is under control.'' ''What's more, given the ability of tea to bring solace and steady the mind, and to inactivate Bacillus anthracis and its toxin, perhaps the Boston Tea Party was not such a good idea after all,'' he added.

A serious and rapidly progressing form of the disease occurs when the bacterial spores are inhaled, making anthrax a potent threat when used as a biological warfare agent.

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