Antibiotics Found in Noses Can Defeat Superbugs and Drug Resistance
German researchers find an unexpected source for new antibiotics as growing drug resistance threatens to cause worldwide epidemics.
Microbes that live in our noses are able to kill MRSA, a superbug that has been resistant to various antibiotics. Researchers hope to use this discovery to develop new antibiotics.
Utilizing bacteria from within the human body to fight off antibiotic resistance is a new approach as most previous antibiotics have come from soil samples.
Initially, German researchers from the University of Tübingen found that the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (some strains of which become the MRSA) is in about 30 per cent of the population, while the other 70 per cent did not have it. Further studies revealed that the reason for this lies in the Staphylococcus lugdunensis bacteria, which is able to fight off the other staph by creating its own antibiotic. This is the bacteria scientists are looking to harness to produce the new antibiotic they dubbed lugdunin.
So far the new antibiotic has been tested only on mice, defeating a number of bacteria which could cause diseases like meningitis, inflammation of the heart, as well as urinary tract and skin infections. Human trials are yet to be conducted.
“It’s really the first human-associated bacterium where the whole species is able to produce such an antibiotic,” said Bernhard Krismer, one of the study’s co-authors.
Professor Andreas Peschel, another co-author of the paper, explained how the scientists hope to make lugdunin into an effective drug:
“By introducing the lugdunin genes into a completely innocuous bacterial species we hope to develop a new preventive concept of antibiotics that can eradicate pathogens."
While the discovery is exciting, developing a mass-produced version of the antibiotic can take a long time. In the meantime, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem that has the potential to lead to worldwide epidemics.
The overuse of antibiotics (particularly in the livestock we consume) has created the situation where resistant bacteria are threatening to become superbugs and cause fatal outbreaks of diseases we consider to be under control, like gonorrhea, tuberculosis and E.coli. A major reason for the issue is the lack of research and development by pharmaceutical companies which focus more on chronic conditions, finding it more lucrative to create drugs that a patient would be taking for years.
According to the CDC, more than 2 million Americans get infected every year due to drug-resistant antibiotics, with nearly 23,000 people dying. The number of people dying across the world is more than 700,000, including 214,000 infants less than a month old. A UK government report estimated that a superbug could kill 300 million people by 2050. Suffice it to say, the potential for a disastrous epidemic is definitely there.
You can read the paper here, in the journal Nature.
Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?
Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back
- In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
- Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
- The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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