Researchers find antibiotic source in patients' noses

A team of German scientists have detected a new potential source for antibiotics in the human nose, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

The team of researchers began its study to understand why Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause severe infections when antibiotic-resistant strains enter the body, exist in the nostrils of one-third of people. The team hypothesized that other bacteria may be fighting off the S. aureus. Researchers examined 90 Staphylococcus isolates found in the human nose. Their investigation revealed that the bacterial strain S. lugdunensis produces an antibacterial compound that is apt at killing S. aureus strains, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus.

The research team then examined nasal swabs from 187 hospital patients. S. aureus was present in one-third of the samples while S. lugdunensis was detected in less than 10 percent. Patient samples that tested positive for both strains had six times less S. aureus present than the samples that contained no S. lugdunensis.

The findings are promising due to the perpetual threat of MRSA in both hospitals and public communities.

One of the study's authors, Andreas Peschel, PhD, a microbiologist at the University of Tubingen in Germany, told Nature News the team is currently in talks with companies that are interested in developing S. lugdunensis into an antibiotic suitable for medical use.

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