APR 27, 2024 2:00 PM PDT

A vaccine to combat antibiotic resistance

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

A team of researchers at Michigan State University have outlined an approach to combating a prevalent public health issue: the development of treatment-resistant infections, particularly staph and MRSA infections. The solution? A vaccine, which is described in a recent article published in Nature Communications.

Antibiotic resistant infections, or infections that do not respond appropriate treatment, is been a public health issue for some time. However, many have started raising the alarm on antibiotic resistant infections as a much more concerning public health issues, with some estimates suggesting it could be just decades before many of the life-changing treatment options that we’ve come to depend on will no longer be effective at combating otherwise treatable infections. This is especially true of staph and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are among the most common causes of infections. That urgency has led researchers to strive for new options to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Researchers at Michigan State University have turned to vaccine technology as a possible solution for combatting antibiotic resistant infections. Specifically, the vaccine is a carbohydrate-based vaccine that could offer people immunity to these types of infections in the first place, reducing the need for antibiotic treatment. While most vaccines are designed to target specific antigens associated with a virus or bacteria, researchers took a different approach by developing vaccines that target carbohydrates as the “target” antigen.

The challenge is that these carbohydrates, or sugars, are structured in a very unique way to different types of bacteria, making it difficult to design vaccines that can cover multiple targets. These kinds of vaccines, however, would expand the type of coverage available. Researchers focused specifically on Polysaccharide poly-β-(1−6)-N-acetylglucosamine, or PNAG, which is found on staph bacteria as well as several other types of bacteria, making it a promising target for developing robust vaccines that can cover multiple bacteria.

Sources: Science Daily; Nature Communications

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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