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Bacteria in the human nose form a possible antibiotic
The increasing resistance to antibiotics worldwide is a massive problem in medicine and the search for alternatives to conventional drugs is in full swing. Now researchers at the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research in the Human Nose have discovered a new potential active ingredient against multi-resistant pathogens. The scientists published their results in the renowned "Nature" magazine.
"A potential lifesaver is slumbering in the human body," said the University of Tübingen. The researchers discovered a bacterium from the human nose that produces a previously unknown antibiotic agent against multidrug-resistant pathogens. The team around Professor Dr. Andreas Peschel from the Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT) at the University of Tübingen was able to determine the chemical structural formula of this new antibiotic "Lugdunin", which gives hope for synthetic production.
Infections with multi-resistant germs are one of the most common causes of death
According to the researchers, "infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria - such as the skin-causing pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - are among the most common causes of death worldwide." The natural habitat of these threatening staphylococci is the human nasal cavity. Scientists from Dr. Bernhard Krismer and Professor Andreas Peschel from the Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infectious Medicine Tübingen (IMIT) noticed in their investigations that "Staphylococcus aureus is rarely found if the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis also lives in the nose," reports the University of Tübingen.
Human microflora as a source of antimicrobial agents
The scientists found that Staphylococcus lugdunensis produces a hitherto unknown antibiotic agent that they christened "Lugdunin". The active ingredient is able to fight even multi-resistant pathogens, in which many classic antibiotics are now ineffective, according to the university. Antibiotics would normally only be produced by soil bacteria and fungi. "It is a new discovery that human microflora can also be a source of antimicrobial agents," emphasizes Professor Peschel.
Protection against resistant pathogens chewable
The treatment of infections with antibiotic-resistant pathogens presents medical professionals with increasing problems. "There are estimates that more people will die of resistant germs than cancer in the coming decades," explains Dr. Krismer in the university press release. The improper use of antibiotics further intensifies the questionable development. And many of the pathogens are part of the human microflora on the skin and mucous membranes, which is why people cannot avoid them. They pose a high risk for patients with serious underlying diseases and a weakened immune system; explain the experts. The pathogens have an easy job with them.
Hope for new therapeutic options
In future studies, it must now be clarified whether “Lugdunin” can actually be used therapeutically as an active ingredient, the researchers report. A colonization of risk patients with harmless "Lugdunin" -forming bacteria is also conceivable in order to preventively reduce the risk of MRSA infections. The findings of the Tübingen scientists are now opening up new opportunities to develop sustainable strategies for preventing infection and to find new types of antibiotics - including in the human body, according to the University of Tübingen. When examining the structure of “Lugdunin”, the scientists found that it consists of a previously unknown ring structure of amino acid building blocks and thus creates a new class of substances. (fp)