staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as the MRSA Superbug, is
on the increase and is now at an all time high in our
Responsible for the vast majority of serious
hospital infections, it is a true super bug that can only be
controlled by one antibiotic - an antibiotic that MRSA is fast
developing immunity to.
Making new antibiotics takes anywhere up to
15 years of research, development & clinical trials which - so
scientists at the University of Warwick in the UK are looking at
other ways to combat the Superbug.
They believe that Phage Therapy is the
answer; and it may have come at a crucial time. The
over-prescribing of antibiotics over the last 50 years may lead to
them all becoming useless in little more than a decade.
Until recently much current work in phage
therapy focuses on the application of lytic bacteriophages. However
phages of this type that infect MRSA are difficult to isolate. The
University of Warwick researchers have turned to Lysogenic Phages
which tend to live in relative harmony within host bacteria - only
killing the bacterium, reproducing and moving on when the bacterium
itself is near the end of its life.
The Warwick researchers have developed
techniques to identify these phages - particularly in MRSA - then
specially mutate them into a new form capable of infecting and
killing the appropriate bacterium. These useful new phages can be
used in any cleaning operation in a hospital designed to combat
MRSA or can even be incorporated in wound dressings.