Bacteria battling over boogers in your nose may have life-saving antibiotic

Crédit photo : Quinn Norton

Sifting through the bacteria that inhabit our cavernous snouts, researchers came up with one that produces a new—an antibiotic unlike any other bacteria-busting drug known to modern medicine. That prized chemical nugget can kill off Staphylococcus aureusstrains, including the dastardly methicillin resistant kind called MRSA, plus other drug-resistant foes. Though it’s still unclear how exactly the new drug slays nasal rivals, scientists are hopeful that the compound will be useful in treating deadly MRSA infections and even clearing out S. aureus from the nose before it has a chance to cause an infection.

Krismer and colleagues started mining for new antibiotics in the nose based on the simple fact that those booger-crusted cavities are barren landscapes for germs. Any wannabe nasal colonizers that periodically blow into schnozville have to put up quite a fight for scant resources. And some of the best weapons bacteria have to fight each other are antibiotics. So the researchers filtered through all of the staph isolates known to take up residence in the human nose, growing them all in the presence of S. aureus.

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