Posted on Aug 16, 2016, 6 a.m.
Researchers have identified a bacterium found in the human nose that can produce antibiotics to destroy Staphyloccus aureus (Staph).
Scientists in Germany have created a new drug-resistant antibiotic they call "lugdunin." A bacteria (staphylococcus lugdunensis) that colonizes your naval cavity was discovered in the human nose, and can produce a super antibiotic with the ability to kill antibiotic resistant bugs.
Researchers found that the deadly bacteria "staphylococcus aureus" does not survive for long in the nasal cavity when the good "staphylococcus lugdunensis" bacteria is present. This association led the scientists to the discovery of the substance "lugdunin" and its antibiotic properties.
Antibiotics are usually created in the lab from bacteria and fungi in soil samples. Using bacteria from the human body is something new, and opens up a whole new field of antibiotic research.
Drug Resistant Pathogens - A Growing Scourge
In the third world, infectious diseases kill more people than any other disease. In the developed world, they are a leading cause of death in people who are young, elderly, and immune deficient. This is a sobering fact that has scientists racing to find better antibiotics.
A widespread misuse of traditional antibiotics has lead to an epidemic of infectious diseases. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for infections, but many people disregard the warnings of not finishing their medication. As a result, some bacteria survive with mutations that make them resistant to the antibiotic. A super bug is then born to go on to infect other people, and soon millions.
If drug-resistant germs are allowed to go unchecked, the results could be a worldwide epidemic never experienced before. Scientists are barely keeping up with designing new drugs to countermeasure new cell mutations in infectious germs.
Both Treatment and Possible Vaccine against Super Bugs
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have successfully used lab mice to demonstrate the new antibiotic's ability to fight drug-resistant germs that have, until now, been immune to the strongest antibiotics on the market.
This may be the life-saving drug doctors have been waiting for. Though still early in the development stages, the new antibiotic may give doctors new and more powerful drugs in the future to combat the ever-growing slate of antibiotic resistant pathogens.
Prevention therapy is another possible application of this new discovery. Although not a cure, the new antibiotic "lugdunin" shows promise as a preventative medicine. People may one day be able to take the new antibiotic before and during infectious outbreaks such as influenza.
While these discoveries are exciting, it is only the tip of the iceberg in the war on disease. Infectious bacteria are perpetually evolving against our best antibiotic drugs. The race is on to find more antibiotics - including inside the human body.
Nature 535, 511–516 (28 July 2016) doi:10.1038/nature18634
Received 12 November 2015 Accepted 09 June 2016 Published online 27 July 2016