Stitching up MRSA
Scientists from the University of Strathclyde have developed a method of chemically bonding a virus to nylon products that could be used as a base to attack MRSA.
Bateriophages are a type of virus that normally only target bacterial cells, but covering nylon strips, beads and suture material in these viruses may prove to be an effective weapon in the battle against MRSA.
“By immobilising this bateriophage onto nylon we can prolong its life and usefulness, in different temperatures and humidity conditions,” said Dr Janice Spencer from the University. “Normally it gets targeted by our immune system and cleared away if injected into people, and also dies very quickly in dry conditions.”
“We found a phage which is effective against most of the epidemic MRSA strains. The nylon can be in different forms including strips, sutures and beads,” She explained. The research was presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s 156th Meeting in Edinburgh.
Trials have shown that the immobilised bacteriophage on the thread used for surgical stitches can prevent wounds becoming infected. Once the phages are bonded to the nylon they are more tolerant of drying out and can remain active for two weeks, instead of dying within hours.
The bacteriophages can also be incorporated into cleaning materials or creams to remove antibiotic resistant bacteria from the skin or from hospital surfaces. It can be made into wound dressings or provide the basis of an injectable treatment for MRSA.