A solution to MRSA?

A new drug which could be effective against MRSA has been announced today. My usual source of news in the morning is BBC TV, where it was reported as being effective against the bacteria in MRSA?

Agar plate with antibiotic resistant bacteria

Agar plate with antibiotic resistant bacteria

Staphefekt has been hailed as the first effective alternative to antibiotics and represents a major breakthrough in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria.

The drug is based on a naturally occurring enzyme produced by viruses and attacks infections differently to antibiotics. Unlike antibiotics, it does not destroy the harmless bacteria that live in the body, which causes it to become drug resistant. In the study, the drug was proven to eliminate MRSA in five out of six patients with skin infections. A very small number but very significant results.

Bjorn Herpers, microbiologist at  Streeklaboratorium voor de Volksgezondheid Kennemerland, Haarlem, told the times that Endolysins exist in nature, “but we’ve made a modified version that combines the bit that is best at binding to the bacteria with another bit that is best at killing it”

It can only be good news to have an additional weapon in the armoury against infection.  Let’s hope it does work and that it gets used wisely. And that it doesn’t get used to feed cattle and food source animals and poultry. Why we should still be feeding antibiotics to cattle is beyond my understanding.
The problem of resistance in bacteria was realised almost as soon as they started to be used and was already causing great concern in the 1970s. There is a lovely timeline showing the development of resistance.

This really is a man-made problem, lets hope that man has learnt how to manage it better.