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History of Vaccines Blog
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA and commonly pronounced “MER-sah,” is a serious problem in hospital settings. Although this particular type of S. aureus bacteria does infect people outside of medical facilities (typically referred to as “community-acquired infection”) it is more serious in healthcare environments, causing potentially life-threatening infection. In 2005, more than 18,000 people died during hospital stays related to serious MRSA infection.
As bacteria continue to develop resistance to more and more antibiotics, the development of vaccines to prevent infection with resistant bacteria becomes more important. Now, researchers at the University of Chicago have identified a possible approach for the development of a vaccine against MRSA.
MRSA has proved difficult as a vaccine target because of its ability to suppress the body’s immune response. Most vaccines exploit the fact that the immune system will respond in a certain way in order to confer protection against future disease. Even natural MRSA infection, however, does not confer such future immunity, making vaccine development against it tricky.