Human nose research reveals “new class of antibiotic”

Researchers in Germany have discovered a new class of antibiotic which they say is effective against multi-resistant pathogens.

The discovery, announced by scientists at the University of Tübingen and the German centre for Infection Research (DZIF), resulted from analysing bacteria from the human nose.

“Normally antibiotics are formed only by soil bacteria and fungi,” said DZIF’s Professor Andreas Peschel (pictured above). “The notion that human microflora may also be a source of antimicrobial agents is a new discovery.”

The research team in Germany discovered that Staphylococcus lugdunensis, which colonizes in the human nose, produces a previously unknown antibiotic. They have since named the new substance, Lugdunin, stating that it is able to combat multi-resistant pathogens, where many classic antibiotics have become ineffective.

“Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, like the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which colonizes on human skin, are among the leading causes of death worldwide,” they said, adding that the natural habitat of harmful Staphylococcus bacteria is the human nasal cavity.

Describing their discovery as a “potential lifesaver”, the scientists added that their findings have opened up new ways to develop sustainable strategies for infection prevention and to find new antibiotics, also in the human body.

The team’s research results have been published in the scientific journal Nature under the names of lead authors Alexander Zipperer and Martin Christoph Konnerth.

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