Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Alien'-type Viruses May Be Able To Treat MRSA

Date:
April 2, 2008
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
New methods that involve sticking thousands of bacteria-killing viruses to wound dressings are offering ways to prevent hospital operating theaters from spreading infections. Although they are too small to see with the naked eye, bacteria are also attacked by viruses, but specific ones that only infect bacteria, not human or animal cells.

New methods that involve sticking thousands of bacteria-killing viruses to wound dressings are offering ways to prevent hospital operating theatres from spreading infections, scientists heard 1 April 1, 2008 at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting.

Related Articles


Although they are too small to see with the naked eye, bacteria are also attacked by viruses, but specific ones that only infect bacteria, not human or animal cells. But for bacteria they present a threat like the alien life form in the Hollywood film Alien -- growing inside the bacteria and then bursting out to attack other similar bacteria, continuing their life cycle. Now doctors are harnessing these little alien creatures to help prevent the spread of hospital superbugs by developing materials impregnated with thousands of tiny beads coated in bacteria-killing viruses.

"Some bacteria specific viruses -- called bacteriophages -- have been used in the past to help clear up infections caused by bacteria, but their use died out when antibiotics like penicillin and methicillin became widely available", says Janice Spencer from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. "We are looking at them again now that multiple antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria have become such a problem in hospitals".

The researchers have developed a technique to keep the viruses active for more than 3 weeks, instead of having them die after a few hours, by chemically bonding them to polymers. The polymers, including nylon, can be in various forms including microscopic beads and strips. Nylon beads can be incorporated into cleaning materials, to decontaminate operating theatres and prevent infections.

The nylon can also be in the form of sutures or wound dressings to decontaminate and prevent wound infection. This limits the risk of blood poisoning, which can be life threatening. Immobilising the bacteriophages onto sutures -- the hospital thread used to stitch up patients during operations -- immediately kills some of the bacteria that would otherwise infect the wound. This speeds up wound healing and reduces the likelihood of the patient developing a major infection.

Many of the most dangerous bacteria are carried harmlessly on the skin and inside the noses of most healthy people. It is only when a patient's immune system is weakened by illness or when the bacteria can get inside our bodies during an operation, bypassing the surface defences provided by our skin, that the bacteria develop into their most dangerous, virulent form. Once activated, some bacteria can cause such serious infections that people may die from them. If these bacteria have also acquired multiple antibiotic resistance, like MRSA, it becomes very difficult, time consuming and expensive to treat the infection.

"We've also developed a device to rapidly detect MRSA on contaminated surfaces. This will allow us to screen patients before surgery to limit the chances of passing on superbug infections by positively decontaminating patients and isolating them to avoid cross-contamination", says Janice Spencer.

"Simple and effective rapid detection of bacteria is important to limit the chance of infection occurring in the first place", says Janice Spencer. "Patients who are carriers for MRSA can be isolated and decontaminated by using standard methods or by using immobilised bacteriophages incorporated into creams or body washes".

The prototype bacteriophage devices for detection and decontamination have been shown to clear MRSA infected surfaces such as tiles and cotton, with the bacteriophages successfully killing 96% of the MRSA strains isolated from patients in 3 different hospitals in the UK and USA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "'Alien'-type Viruses May Be Able To Treat MRSA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331223805.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2008, April 2). 'Alien'-type Viruses May Be Able To Treat MRSA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331223805.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "'Alien'-type Viruses May Be Able To Treat MRSA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331223805.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins