Actually, it might be in our noses. Scientists in Germany recently discovered a strain of bacterium hiding in the human nose called Staphylococcus lugdunensis. In the future, it may be used to treat multidrug-resistant superbugs.
“Normally antibiotics are formed only by soil bacteria and fungi,” said microbiologist and study co-author Andreas Peschel. “The notion that human microflora may also be a source of antimicrobial agents is a new discovery.”
Using human study participants, Peschel and his team were able to isolate the beneficial strain. Soon after, they created an antibiotic drug called Lugdunin, which was used to successfully treat mice infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA—a common superbug.
Also of note, while about 33% of Americans harbor staph bacteria in their noses and about 2 in every 100 people carry MRSA, researchers rarely found the two of them occupying the same space—more evidence that Staphylococcus lugdunensis is an effective guardian against the infectious bacteria.
Further study is needed, but scientists hope to develop an antibiotic treatment for humans similar to the one that was successful in the mice trials. If that happens, it may be an important step toward tackling the problem of widespread antibiotic resistance. Researchers also hope Staphylococcus lugdunensis is just the beginning, and that there are more antibiotic bacteria to be found in the nose and throughout the human microbiome.