Research team finds key to MRSA vaccine
A team of top vaccine researchers say that the key to coming up with an effective vaccine to guard against MRSA has been found in the 'sticky glue' the bacteria produces to grow as a biofilm. Staph bacteria often grow in cellular communities on medical devices. The biofilm that the bacteria live in protects them from antibiotics.
"To grow as a biofilm the bacteria must produce sticky factors, one of which is a type of complex sugar called PNAG. We are targeting this material as a possible vaccine, but natural exposure to the sugar compound does not result in most people and animals making an immune response that would protect them from attack by the bacteria or recurring infections," said Professor Gerald Pier from Harvard Medical School.
Chemical manipulation of the sugar produces variants that can be used as vaccines. And the researchers have developed an antibody that can prevent infection. Due to the cost of making the antibodies, though, any vaccine they develop may have to be limited to people most at risk of developing an infection. And a vaccine may be available within six years.
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