A new antibiotic produced by a bacterium living in the human nose kills the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus (MRSA) in mice and rats.
The potential new soldier in the fight against MRSA is a molecule called lugdunin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis, report Andreas Peschel and colleagues at the University of Tübingen, Germany, on 27 July in Nature.
Staphylococcus aureus resides in the noses of 1 in 3 people without causing a problem. MRSA — an S. aureus strain resistant to many antibiotics — is found in 2 in 100. In a small percentage of cases, the bacterium escapes to the bloodstream, causing infection. MRSA kills 11,000 people annually in the United States alone.
In a sampling of 187 hospital patients, people whose noses naturally contained S. lugdunensis were six times less likely to have S. aureus than people whose noses lacked S. lugdunensis, Peschel's team found. This suggests that S. lugdunensis is able to combat the growth of the problematic bacterium. That means the antibiotic produced by the bacterium could be developed as a preventive — a nasal spray, for example — to keep S. aureus out of people’s noses in the first place. About 9% of people naturally carry S. lugdunensis.
Wednesday July 27, 2016/Nature.