Who could’ve guessed that bacteria inside a person’s nose could be responsible for producing a powerful antibiotic. According to a recent study German scientists have revealed that bacteria inside the human nose produce an antibiotic that seems to have enough power to fight dangerous skin infections.
The study, published online in Nature, says that the antibiotic is produced by a type of staph bacteria that is only found in the noses of 10% of human beings. While most of the antibiotics have been collected from bacteria found in the soil it is only recently that scientists have started to find useful antibiotics produced by bacteria inside the human body.
The new antibiotic called lugduinn, tested on mice, showed it being capable of curing skin infections due to MRSA as well as kill bacteria known as VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus). The new antibiotic hasn’t been tested on humans yet.
The discovery of a new antibiotic in the nose is being seen as a potential lifesaver by the medical world. The program director of the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institute of Health, Lita Proctor, said that patients and doctors are in desperate need of new antibiotics in order to replace the ones whose effectiveness is being lost. Antibiotic resistance is the result of overuse of antibiotics and bacteria has become capable of evolving in ways that make them very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to kill even with the strongest of the drugs available to mankind.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2 million U.S citizens end up developing antibiotic resistance every year. About 23,000 people die as a result.
Due to the human nose producing a powerful antibiotic, one of the coauthors of the study, Andreas Peschel, a professor at the University of Tubingen (Germany), says that the human body could be a source of numerous such helpful antibiotics. He went on to say that even though there’s a rise in antibiotic resistance there aren’t a lot of new antibiotics being created. The university has filed for a patent on the new antibiotic.
The director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center in Atlanta, Davis Weiss, said that it is not easy to develop antibiotics. The previous news class was released more than thirty years ago. The antibiotics that have approved since then are similar to ones that are already in use and thus, make it easier for bacteria to grow resistant to them.
A lot of drug companies don’t want to invest in antibiotics as they can take decades to develop and come near to $1 billion in research costs. They also don’t provide much of a profit as they need to be taken for a few weeks compared to medication that people need to take for many years.
Kjersti Aagaard, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston), said that the new research does provide motivation to study more about the human body’s microbes in order to find potential cures to various diseases. The professor further went on to add that “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.”