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Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Next Great Antibiotic May Live in the Human Nose

But that doesn't mean you can pick your nose.

Finding a novel, efficient antibiotic is crucial now more than ever because antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise. In their search for such a material, scientists think they may have discovered one, and it naturally exists in the human nose—a somewhat surprising location.

Researchers at the University of Tübingen have found that Staphylococcus epidermidis produces epifadin, a member of a class of antimicrobial compounds that were previously unknown. This type of bacteria is present on the skin and within our noses.

Numerous bacteria, referred to as the microbiome, reside within the human body and are constantly competing with one another for survival. S. epidermidis is thought to eliminate its local bacterial competitors in part by secreting substances such as epifadin.

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Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is normally present in human airways but can become an opportunistic pathogen, is one such adversary. It is widely recognized for being a particularly dangerous infection known as MRSA, which is methicillin-resistant. Nevertheless, through trial and error, the scientists found that epifadin consistently eliminated S. aureus by fatally destroying the cell membrane. This suggests the potential utility of epifadin, or its derivatives, as a novel antibiotic.

epifadin l
The Next Great Antibiotic May Live in the Human Nose

Additionally, the researchers discovered that epifadin’s chemical structure is unstable. Although the team needed several years to successfully isolate and analyze the material, it may be beneficial in the form of a treatment. Antibiotics can occasionally cause stomach problems because the human microbiome is home to a variety of beneficial bacteria that can occasionally become collateral damage when currently available broad-spectrum antibiotics are used. Epifadin, on the other hand, has a much more focused effect because it is only active for a few hours.

In-depth research on the effects of the various structural components of epifadin is planned, as is the creation of synthetic compounds that are more stable and resemble epifadin.

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The researchers feel that the discovery of epifadin emphasizes the significance of searching for the antibiotics of the future, regardless of whether it serves as the foundation for the next big antibiotic wonder drug.

According to study author and microbiologist Andreas Peschel, “the development of new antibiotics has stagnated for decades.” However, given the sharp increase in multiresistant bugs that have been observed globally in recent years, we now require them more than ever. These infections are difficult to treat, and the effectiveness of our stockpile antibiotics is waning. New active ingredients and therapeutic approaches are desperately needed.


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I’m Olafare Michael Oluwabukola, a young enthusiast with an insatiable curiosity for the mysteries of science and technology. As a passionate explorer of knowledge, I envisioned a platform that could not only keep us all informed about the latest breakthroughs but also inspire us to marvel at the wonders that surround us.
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