By combining four proteins of Staphylococcus aureus that individually generated the strongest immune response in mice, scientists have created a vaccine that significantly protects the animals from diverse strains of the bacterium that cause disease in humans. S. aureus, the most common agent of hospital-acquired infection, is the leading cause of bloodstream, lower respiratory tract and skin infections. These infections can result in a variety of illnesses, including endocarditis (inflammation of the heart), toxic-shock syndrome and food poisoning.
Research in S. aureus has taken on new urgency: In the past few decades, the bacterium has developed resistance to traditional antibiotics, thus allowing infections to spread throughout the body of the infected individual despite treatment. More recently, healthy people with no apparent risk factors have been infected by novel and extremely virulent strains of S. aureus acquired from community rather than hospital sources.
A report describing the University of Chicago study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health, appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
Message posted by: Rashmi Nemade
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