Medical Minute 10-22: Winning the Battle Against MRSA

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

Soap and water and liquid sanitizer don't always hold up when it comes to MRSA. It's the mutation of a basic staph infection, and it's resistant to almost all antibiotics. It was enough to knock Christopher Flynn out cold.

"I went to bed one day because I felt achy, and I basically woke up 10 days later," said Christopher Flynn.

The bacteria attached itself to Christopher's hip implant and spread throughout his body. North Carolina State University professor Doctor Christian Melander may have the solution. It's a compound called spar, or "suppressor of antibiotic resistance," and it cracks drug-resistant codes.

"It's the first thing that I've ever seen this happen with, and I've looked," said Christian Melander Ph.D., Associate Professor at North Carolina State University.

These infections build defensive walls that resist antibiotics. Melander's spar turns off the genes that make those walls -- allowing standard drugs to work again.

"In the presence of our compound, those genes can't be turned on, and they act just like regular bacteria," said Christian Melander.

MRSA kills 19-thousand people per year in the U.S. Another bacteria similar to MRSA -- called M-DRAB -- is now attacking war vets -- many infected by improvised explosive devices. In a recent study, 10% of Iraqi vets treated had the infection. Now, a creation from inside the lab may soon help soldiers and civilians win the battle against bacteria.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Christian Melander, Professor North Carolina State

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