MRSAid™: A Non-antibiotic Approach to MRSA Prevention

In as little as ten years, MRSA (short for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has become almost a household name. Today, everyone knows of someone who has died or has nearly died from a serious infection. MRSA is very likely to be one of the main culprits. This rampant infection rate was simply not the case ten years ago. In only one decade, we have seen the rise of antibiotic resistance to become one of the top ten global health issues that has affected both our communities and our economies. Indeed, the MRSA infection problem is estimated to cost US$3.2-$4.2 billion annually in the US alone1.

MRSA are strains of Staphylococcus aureus (SA), a bacterium commonly found in the nose and/or skin of about 30% of healthy people, that have become resistant to a growing number of antibiotics historically used to treat SA infections2. The number of MRSA infections has been growing, especially in certain areas like in hospitals. Patients who are carriers of MRSA are at risk of self-infection or of spreading to health care workers and other patients.  The problem with MRSA infections is that they are becoming increasingly more difficult to treat due to the rise in antibiotic resistance. Many people with MRSA infections may experience either MRSA sepsis (blood infection) or MRSA pneumonia. In either case, studies have reported that up to 50% of patients infected will die3,4.

Given the severity of the consequences to MRSA infections, many hospitals have started to proactively screen for carriers of MRSA and take preventative measures. In the UK, where the National Health Service has been actively involved with a screening and decolonization program for a number of years, surgical site MRSA infection rates have declined by 40-60% on average.  This is truly a remarkable outcome implying that similar preventative measures must now be encouraged globally.  The future will demand non-antibiotic alternatives to decolonization as it seems folly to prevent antibiotic resistance by using prophylactic antibiotics, which is the current standard. This reluctance to further undermine the global arsenal of antibiotics is indeed the primary reason behind lack of widespread support of screening/decolonization programs.  We at Ondine Biomedical intend to lead the path to a new non-antibiotic approach using the MRSAid™ nasal decolonization system, a photodynamic disinfection solution addressing a world of resistance.

  1. New Research Estimates MRSA Infections Cost U.S. Hospitals $3.2 Billion to $4.2 Billion Annually.” Summary of poster session (Abstract ID#9489) presented by the U.S. Outcomes Research Group of Pfizer Inc. at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. 2005 May
  2. http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile73.stm
  3. Moore et al. USA600(ST45) Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infections in Urban Detroit. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, June 2010. Vol 48(6):2307-2310
  4. Bradley et al. Staphylococcus Aureus Pneumonia: Emergence of MRSA: Lessons from Staphylococcal Pneumonia: What was Old is New Again. WebMD accessed Dec 2010

Images via: http://www.ronjones.org/Weblinks/MRSA-Photos.html

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