MRSA vaccine breakthrough31st October 2006
Scientists are moving closer to developing a vaccine to protect against the so-called hospital superbug MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an antibiotic resistant strain of the common bacteria Staphylococcus. It attacks people when their immune system is compromised by illness, and although it can be found in the community, it often colonises in hospitals.
Now researchers have found a vaccine that has protected mice from four strains of the potentially deadly bug, providing up to 100% immunity.
The team from the US, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said more work was needed before they could develop a vaccine for humans.
The team used recent advances in genetics to find a possible vaccine, sifting through the genome of Staphylococcus aureus to find proteins on the microbe that might spark the body's immune system into action.
The eventual vaccine gave the mice anything between 60 and 100% protection.
The team said further tests would be needed to understand the mechanism of the vaccine and to discover if it would be as effective in humans.
British experts have warned that further research is needed, looking at all the cross-sections of MRSA, including strains found outside the US.
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