Another example for the use of benign bacteria to combat infections: according to a report by US scientists, some bacteria may disrupt the growth of Staphylococcus aureus – a prevalent and in some cases dangerous pathogen – and in this way help prevent multi-resistant pathogens from spreading.
Many – and by all means also healthy individuals – have Staphylococcus aureus inhabit their noses and may transmit these to others. In particular among people with low resistance, these may then cause in parts serious infections. The greatest danger occurs if the transmitted bacteria come from MRSA, i.e. multi-resistant strains, which then colonise the body.
As Joachim Czichos explains on “Wissenschaft aktuell”, US researchers have found that “having high amounts of specific other nasal microbes precludes strong proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus.” The scientists analysed nasal swabs from identical and fraternal twins and determined that having significantly low amounts of Staphylococcus aureus “was predictive of having high amounts of acidogenic bacteria” of the Dolosigranulum or Corynebacterium types. It is thus possible that bacteria of these two species eliminate Staph and if so, could be applied as probiotic bacteria, e.g. as a nasal spray or a lotion.
Administering these basically harmless mucus bacteria could help halt the spread of MRSA, Czichos quotes the scientists’ report in the trade journal Science Advances (“Staphylococcus aureus and the ecology of the nasal microbiome”, Cindy M. Liu et al.; Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400216). He also quotes in this context Lance Price of the Translational Genomics Research Institute: “Using probiotics to promote gut health has become common in our culture. Now we’re looking to use these same strategies to prevent the spread of superbugs.“