A microbe found underwater has been determined by researchers as a potential cure for sinusitis. Bacillus licheniformis is an enzyme that comes from seaweed. Initially the researchers were looking for a more efficient way to clean the hull of a ship, but instead found something of medical relevance.

There is a film which can protect the bacteria that cause sinus infections from many of the current nasal sprays, but this microbe may be the solution to that problem. The research showed that the microbe can actually separate the bacteria from the sinus surface, and they were able to repeat this process in over half of the specimens used in the study.

More than one in ten people are affected by sinus problems – in fact, it is one of the most common reasons that lead individuals in the USA and UK to see their general practitioner.

What are some of the symptoms of this condition? – the nose becomes stuffy and may have a discolored discharge, while the temples and the area directly below the eyes become sensitive and perhaps puffy, and headaches are common.

Nasal sprays and antibiotics may provide some relief, but for many individuals sinus problems become chronic and sinusitis recurs frequently – many have even had to undergo surgery to try and counteract the condition. That having been said, there is great potential to help improve quality of life for a large number of people by developing a treatment for sinusitis.

Samples were collected from 20 different individuals for the study – each sample had between two and six different bacteria. In all, there were two dozen strains of bacteria as part of the study. More than half (14) of these strains were separated from the sinus tissue using the potential new marine based treatment. When attacked, the bacteria create a slimy defense layer, but the treatment (dubbed NucB) was able to breakdown the protective layer of more than half the strains responsible for sinusitis.