Boise State University researchers have created a new vaccine that shows what they say is “high promise” in preventing Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can cause a range of illnesses such as skin infections and pneumonia.
Each year, health experts say, nearly 500,000 Americans are admitted to hospitals for staph infections. Research shows that more than 50 percent of those are from methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA, which is resistant to current antibiotics.
“Staph is a significant public health threat and is the leading cause of opportunistic infection worldwide,” said study co-author Juliette Tinker, assistant professor of biological sciences at Boise State. “Furthermore, MRSA infections, which were previously considered a threat only in hospitals and other health care facilities, are now the known cause of life-threatening multidrug-resistant infections out in the community.”
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Boise State biology scientists created a vaccine that uses a cholera toxin molecule called A2/B chimera, which also contains an iron-regulated surface determinant from S. aureus, that was given to mice through the nose. The researchers believed that these stable chimeric molecules with unique binding properties would provide immunity to staph infections. The results supported this theory and showed that the new vaccine could induce significant immunity to staph in mice
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