Microbiologists have identified how MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) may be more effectively treated by modern antibiotics if they are paired with penicillin. The team from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and the University of Liverpool have shown that, although penicillin does not kill the bacteria, it does weaken their virulence, making it easier for the immune system and other antibiotics to eradicate the infection.
MRSA infection is caused by a type of bacteria that has become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary infections. This results in significant morbidity and mortality with up to 20 percent of patients infected with MRSA dying from systemic infections. In some cases, the infection leads to amputation.
James O’Gara, PhD, of NUI Galway, said: “Our findings explain the anti-virulence mechanism of penicillin-type antibiotics and support the reintroduction of these drugs as an adjunct therapeutic for MRSA infections…”
This article was adapted from information provided by NUI Galway.