AUG 21, 2020 6:29 PM PDT

Vaccine Aimed at Fungi May Also Protect Against MRSA

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a common bacterium with many different strains. These microbes can be found in the environment and they are often a normal part of the microbial community carried by humans. Estimates have suggested that as many as fifteen percent of people may be colonized with some strain of S. aureus. If S. aureus stays on the skin, it's not dangerous. But if it gets into the bloodstream or internal organs, it can cause very serious infections.

Scanning electromicrograph of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. / Credit: NIAID

There are also strains of S. aureus that carry genes that make them resistant to multiple drugs, like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA can affect anyone, from people with weak immune systems to totally healthy people, and was once thought of primarily a hospital-acquired infection, but has now spread in the community. These factors make the development of a MRSA vaccine more of a priority. However, clinical trials of potential MRSA vaccines have failed so far.

Researchers know that people with HIV and other immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk for fungal infections as well as S. aureus infections. Researchers led by David Underhill of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center took note, and decided to see whether triggering fungal immunity might have an anti-MRSA effect.

Reporting in PLOS Pathogens by, the scientists engineered a vaccine that's called 4X-SA-GP for its structure: four S. aureus proteins are carried by fungal β-glucan particles. The researchers exposed a mouse model to the vaccine, and then either four or eight weeks after that, injected them with S. aureus.

Protective antibody and T cell responses were triggered in the mice by the vaccine, and the T cells were found to be essential for the vaccine to induce protection against an S. aureus infection. Antibodies were detected in the spleen and kidneys of the mice eight weeks after they'd been immunized.

The study authors suggested that this could be a way forward in the development of a vaccine for S. aureus.

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via PLOS, PLOS Pathogens

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 28, 2021
Microbiology
Histones May Be Essential to Amoeba-Infecting Viruses
JUL 28, 2021
Histones May Be Essential to Amoeba-Infecting Viruses
Histones are proteins that are used to organize and compact DNA. Some giant viruses called Marseilleviridae have also be ...
JUL 30, 2021
Microbiology
Viruses Captured at High Resolution as They Moved in 3D
JUL 30, 2021
Viruses Captured at High Resolution as They Moved in 3D
Scientists have used powerful tools to get a better look at viruses at they move through liquid. A new study that was re ...
AUG 31, 2021
Microbiology
How Cow Stomachs Might Help Us Reduce Plastic Waste
AUG 31, 2021
How Cow Stomachs Might Help Us Reduce Plastic Waste
Plastic is a long-lasting material that has many uses, which has led to a proliferation of plastic packaging that is pol ...
OCT 03, 2021
Coronavirus
Merck's COVID-19 Drug Halves Risk of Death in Mild & Moderate Cases
OCT 03, 2021
Merck's COVID-19 Drug Halves Risk of Death in Mild & Moderate Cases
While Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIAID is already stressing that people should still get vaccinated to help reduce COVID-19 in ...
OCT 05, 2021
Microbiology
Insects & Spiders Seem to Carry & Spread Antibiotic Resistance
OCT 05, 2021
Insects & Spiders Seem to Carry & Spread Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is seen as a growing threat to public health, and scientists have been trying to develop new antib ...
OCT 14, 2021
Microbiology
Leprosy Has Been Detected in Wild Chimpanzees for the First Time
OCT 14, 2021
Leprosy Has Been Detected in Wild Chimpanzees for the First Time
Leprosy has been infecting people since ancient times, and is estimated to have caused about 202,000 new infections in 2 ...
Loading Comments...