Scientists have made a surprising discovery as they search for an antibiotic that can kill superbugs — increasingly resistant infection-causing bacteria.
“Researchers from the University of Tubingen in Germany have discovered that a nose-dwelling bacteria, Staphylococcus lugdunensis, produces a chemical called lugdunin,” CNN reports. “The chemical is ‘bactericidal against major pathogens,’ and — crucially — not prone to developing a resistance in the bugs that it kills.”
The research was recently published in the scientific journal Nature. “Despite the urgent need for new antibiotics that are effective against resistant bacteria, very few compounds are in development,” the article notes.
CNN notes: “Many pathogens have developed a resistance to our current stock of weaponry, rendering them ever-less effective and in some cases — such as the so-called ‘superbug’ MRSA, or Staphylococcus aureus — can be life-threatening.”
One of the authors of the study, Andreas Peschel, warned that he believes in 10 years more people will die of diseases caused by resistant bacteria than will die from cancer.
The report notes that the idea of searching the human body for potential weapons against pathogens is something of a new frontier.
Speaking at a news conference, Peschel said: “We’ve come up with a new concept. It was totally unexpected to find a human-associated bacterium to produce a real antibiotic.”