German Scientists Find New Nasal Antibiotics


nasal antibiotics

German scientists have found that some antibiotics are produced by the strangest of things. For example, there’s a bacteria in your nose right now that is capable of killing several dangerous pathogens due to the antibiotic compound it produces.

Even though it’s an early-stage finding, the team from the University of Tuebingen hopes it could lead to a new class of nasal antibiotic drugs that will balance the battle against drug-resistant bacterial infections.

As it was reported in the journal Nature, the nasal cavity is not just a focal point for viral infections; it also provides the ideal spot for 50 or so species of bacteria to grow.

Lead researcher Andreas Peschel said “[That’s] the reason why we looked at this particular body site. It led us to some very unexpected and exciting findings that may be very helpful in looking for new concepts for the development of antibiotics.”

Until now, antibiotics have been created by isolating environmental bacteria, but the researchers said their finding shows the human microbiome has increased value as an alternative source.

Peschel explained that many ecological niches co-exist in the body; the nose might be just the place to search for new human antibiotics. Their first discovery called lugdunin is the first element in a new class of peptide antibiotics.

Lugdunin – produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis in the human nose – has been proved to treat a skin infection caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) in mice experiments. This particular bacterium can also lead to serious and superbug infections.

Lugdunin was also effective in fighting so-called Gram-positive bacteria; probably the most important discovery was that it was effective against strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

After analyzing nasal swabs from 187 hospital patients, researchers found that only 5.9 percent of those who had cultures of S. lugdunensis bacteria in their noses also had the potential infectious S. aureus bacteria.

It suggests that having S. lugdunensis in the human nose helps keep S. aureus at bay. However, the research on this new class of antibiotics is at a very early stage and many years might pass before the team can develop a potential new antibiotic medicine.

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