Scientists found 35 unknown bacteria species in patient samples from hospital

Scientists found 35 unknown bacteria species in patient samples from hospital

In patient samples from the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, researchers have uncovered more than 30 previously unknown bacterial species. A study, featured in the BMC Microbiology journal, highlights the clinical significance of some of these newly discovered bacteria, opening avenues for further research and treatment development.

Lead author Dr. Daniel Goldenberger emphasized the rarity of direct links between newly identified bacteria and their clinical relevance in past publications. The study aims to enhance understanding of pathogens affecting humans globally, ultimately facilitating more effective treatments.

Since 2014, Dr. Goldenberger and his team have gathered and analyzed patient samples, focusing on 61 unidentified bacterial pathogens from individuals with various medical conditions. Traditional sequencing methods posed challenges, leading them to adopt a newer analysis approach. Utilizing an algorithm, they compared the sequences with known strains, revealing 35 new species, with seven deemed clinically relevant and the remaining 26 labeled as “difficult to identify.”

The study highlights the prevalence of newly identified bacteria in two genera: Corynebacterium (six species) and Schaalia (five species). These genera, commonly found in the natural human skin microbiome and mucosa, are often underestimated and under-researched but can be harmful once entering the bloodstream.

Notably, the study identifies a “difficult to identify” bacterium in a dog bite wound on a patient’s thumb, potentially a novel and emerging pathogen first isolated in 2022 by a Canadian group from wounds caused by dog or cat bites.

The research team intends to continue their work by collecting and sequencing samples from patients at the University Hospital Basel, contributing to the identification of over 20 additional species. This effort aims to enhance future diagnostic and treatment approaches for infections.

The study’s conclusion emphasizes the importance of publicly available clinical and genomic data in comprehending the clinical and ecological roles of bacterial organisms. The identification of 35 novel strains, particularly seven with clinical relevance, underscores the vast array of undiscovered pathogens awaiting further definition.

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