Scientists at the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) found that a lifesaving antibiotic can be produced from the human nose. They found that the bacterium called Staphylococcus lugdunensis found in the nose is able to produce an antibiotic called Lugdunin.

As stated in the study published on July 27 in the journal Nature, Lugdunin is able to fight the multi-resistant pathogens on mice. Apparently, other known antibiotics that were used during the experiment were ineffective.

The research team also found that the deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria Staphylococcus aureus  is rarely found when Staphylococcus lugdunensis  is also present. Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be found on the skin and can cause deadly diseases.


Antibiotic resistance. Credit: Wikimedia/Dr Graham Beards

According to Andreas Peschel from the Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT), this marks the first time that antibiotics can be produced using human bacteria. Previously, antibiotics are only known to be formed by soil bacteria and fungi.

More studies are still needed.  The next step would involve testing if Lugdunin could be used in therapy. Scientists still need to determine if the Lugdunin-forming bacteria can also be used to help solve the problems associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance is increasingly becoming harder to treat.   According to researcher Bernhard Krismer, scientists estimate that more people will die from resistant bacteria than cancer in the coming decades. Improper use of antibiotics worsens this problem.

We cannot avoid diseases caused by pathogens that are part of human microflora on skin and mucous membranes. People with serious diseases and poor immune system are especially at a higher risk. These recent findings from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research could pave the way for creating new and improved techniques to prevent infection as well as finding other unknown antibiotics in our body.