Staph infections still a concern | Science News



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50 Years Ago

Staph infections still a concern

Excerpt from the October 29, 1966, issue of Science News

12:00pm, October 20, 2016
Staphylococcus aureus

GROWING RESISTANCE  Antibiotic resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (shown here in yellow) are pushing scientists to find alternative treatments, including vaccines.

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New hope for control of staph infections

Staphylococcal infections — especially rampant in hospitals and responsible for … some fatal disorders — may be virtually stamped out. Researchers … have extracted teichoic acid from the bacteria’s cell wall and used it to protect groups of mice from subsequent massive doses of virulent staph organisms. — Science News, October 29, 1966


Staphylococcus aureus has not been conquered. As antibiotic resistance grows, the pressure is on to find ways to stop the deadly microbe. A vaccine that targets S. aureus’ various routes of infection is being tested in patients having back surgery. Ideally, doctors would use the vaccine to protect hospital patients and people with weakened immune systems. This vaccine is the furthest along among several others in development. Meanwhile, a natural anti­biotic recently found in human noses may lead to drugs that target antibiotic-resistant staph (SN: 8/20/16, p. 7). 


P. M. Schlievert. The dream of Staphylococcal vaccination. Journal of Experimental Medicine. Published online November 17, 2014. doi: 10.1084/jem.21112insight1. 

Further Reading

H. Thompson. FDA bans chemicals in antibacterial soaps. Science News Online. September 2, 2016.

E. Emerson. The nose knows how to fight staph. Science News. Vol. 190, August 20, 2016, p. 7.

N. Seppa. Doctors enlisted to turn the tide on antibiotic resistance. Science News. Vol. 186, October 4, 2014, p. 22.

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