Research could lead to different types of treatments for staph infections if study results are confirmed.
New research is showing the treatment with antibiotics is making the deadly superbug Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) worse instead of better, according to a report on healthline.com.
Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are saying the beta-lactam antibiotics normally administered to kill a staph infection by inactivating the enzymes used to build cell walls, is not turned off in MRSA after exposure to the antibiotics.
In fact, the enzyme, PBP2A, is helping the superbug to not only to continue to build cell walls, but is building a cell wall that is different from normal staph infections.
The researchers noted that the mice they had infected with MRSA got even sicker than before, likely due to the abnormal cell walls having a “powerful inflammatory response.”
Beta-lactam antibiotics are the most common group of antibiotics used, especially when the source of the infection is not clear. And that is part of the problem. Sometimes, doctors don’t initially know what strain of staph is infecting the patient, and it often takes a day or two of precious time to make a positive identification.
Physicians, having to make a decision as to which antibiotic to use, could be taking a risk of making their patient’s condition worsen, instead of improving.
Numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2011, MRSA caused 80,000 infections that resulted in 11,000 infection-related deaths.
An infection of MRSA is normally caused when the patient has a cut, or a sore that allows the infection to enter the body. People that come into contact with each other, such as athletes, are more likely to become infected, particularly those in contact sports like football.
The researchers are not recommending physicians should change the way they are treating staph infections at this point. Study author Sabrina Mueller, Ph.D said clinical studies are warranted, adding physicians should follow current guidelines for staph infection treatments established by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
They also added their study only dealt with staph infections in mice, and more research should be done on humans before any recommendations could be made.