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UCLA MRSA antibiotic study wins USD 9m from NIH

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health has awarded a UCLA research team a five-year, USD 9m contract to fund a study investigating antibiotic treatments for community acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a UCLA research team a five-year, USD 9m contract to fund a study investigating antibiotic treatments for community acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The study will be headed up by Dr David A Talan and Dr Gregory J Moran of Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The research will examine if off-patent antibiotics for the treatment of uncomplicated skin and soft tissue infections could treat MRSA.

Dr Talan said: "The emergence of the new, potentially more infectious and virulent strain of S. aureus in the community, has caused serious outbreaks of disease over the past few years. We are hopeful to be able to identify the most effective antibiotic treatment for these infections."

The current team published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that CA-MRSA had become the most common cause of skin and soft tissue infections among patients presenting to a geographically diverse group of 11 emergency departments across the US.

MRSA resistance to antibiotics was measured in-vitro and found that in 57 per cent of cases, doctors had prescribed an antibiotic to which the bacteria were resistant.

Despite the findings, in-vitro testing does not reliably indicate that these antibiotics would fail in patients with an active immune system to help fight disease. More research, including the study supported by the NIH award, will address the impact of MRSA resistance to various off-patent antibiotics.

The researchers say that this NIH contract is unique, as it will fund the investigation of off-patent antibiotics which would not normally be tested by pharmaceutical industry-supported research.

30th September 2008

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