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Scientists Discover New Powerful Antibiotic in Human Nose

Jul 28, 2016 08:15 PM EDT
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Scientists capture the spread and evolution of bacteria

A team of German researchers has discovered a powerful antibiotic produced by the bacterium living inside the human nostrils.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature, was made after the researchers found that 30 percent of people have the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in their noses, while 70 percent of the people don't. Upon closer investigation, the researchers identified another bacterium in human noses, called Staphylococcus lugdunensis that appear to keep Staphylococcus aureus at bay producing its own antibiotic.

"The antibiotic discovery is a wonderful observation that speaks to the power of innovation and sound scientific insights," Kjersti Aagaard, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told USA Today. "When we regard the human body, as well as the world around us, as an elegant ecosystem, there will be endless wonders to be discovered at our fingertips, or the tip of our nose."

The new antibiotic was dubbed as lungdunin. The researchers isolated the lungdunin and tested it on mic with Staphylococcus aureus infected skin. They noted that the new antibiotic is effective in clearing the bacterial infection on mouse models in most cases.

However, researchers noted the new antibiotic is still on its early days and has no assurance whether the lungdunin itself is safe to use in treatments. By chance the new antibiotic is not suitable for treatment, researcher are planning to adapt the bacterium or transfer genes to innocuous germs that could then be used to fight MRSA.

Staphylococcus aureus is known for its harder variety methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which is one of the dreaded superbugs that are very difficult to treat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are at least 2 million cases of antibiotic-resistant infection in the United States each year, including about 23,000 patients who died as a direct result of the infection.

The rampant use of antibiotics have contributed to the rise of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While bacteria continues to develop resistance to the currently available antibiotics, pharmaceutical companies are having a much harder time coping with the resistance.

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