Is There a Pathogen Killer Right Under Your Nose?

By: Matt Weik

Have you ever gone searching for something only to discover that it was right under your nose the entire time? We’ve all been there.  Well, science is kind of like that sometimes as well.

Researchers in Germany have found inside peoples’ noses, a bacterium that can kill many different pathogens that are dangerous to our health—one of them being MRSA.  The nose is actually a great spot for bacteria to form and grow, both good and bad bacteria. It is said that an astonishing 50+ forms of bacteria are present in the nasal cavity, creating its own little ecosystem.

One researcher mentioned, “(That’s) the reason why we looked at this particular body site. (And) it led us to some very unexpected and exciting findings that may be very helpful in looking for new concepts for the development of antibiotics.  The human body has a lot of different ecological niches.  Maybe this is just the right place to look for new human antibiotics.  Lugdunin is an example that we’ve been able to characterize.  We’re sure there will be others to discover.”

Lugdunin is what they are calling their new finding.

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This new bacterium found in the nose is bringing to light a new class of peptide antibiotics never before seen. The researchers are saying that this colony of bacteria is forming due to another bacterium found in the nose, Staphylococcus lugdunensis (hence where the name Lugdunin came from).

The researchers are already finding that this new bacterium is able to fight off other infections commonly found in the body as well as those which are considered rare superbugs.

When researchers looked at 187 individuals in a hospital, they found through nasal swabs that of those who had the “Lugdunin” bacterium, only 5.9% of them had other forms of bad bacteria which could cause infectious superbugs. Of those who had their nose swabbed and were found to NOT have the Lugdunin, 34.7% were found to be harboring infectious bacteria in their nose, increasing their risk for infections and illnesses.

While this data is extremely important in shaping the health of all of us, researchers have many more years of work ahead of them as this finding is still in its infancy in terms of figuring out the true potential of this healthy bacteria. From that point, researchers noted that they will end up working with a pharmaceutical company in order to develop a medicine for the general public and begin conducting clinical trials.  So while the nose may seem like a dirty place, it also harbors things that can protect us from illness and disease.

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