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Good drugs for bad bugs

15 November 2016

HRB-funded research by Professor James O'Gara in NUI Galway shows how simple changes to antibiotic treatment of MRSA may help beat the bacteria.

Penicillin weakens MRSA bacteria making it more vulnerable to other antibiotics and the immune system

Microbiologists have identified how MRSA may be more effectively treated by modern-day antibiotics, if old-fashioned penicillin is also used.

The team from the National University of Ireland Galway and the University of Liverpool have shown that, although penicillin does not kill the bacteria, it does weaken their virulence, making it easier for our immune system and other antibiotics to eradicate the infection.

Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board commented,

'This research demonstrates the potential payback having a vibrant health research programme. It clearly has the potential to change clinical practice and improve outcomes for patients'.

MRSA infection is caused by a type of Staphylococcal bacteria that has become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary infections. This results in significant morbidity and mortality with up to 20% of patients infected with MRSA dying from systemic infections. 

The research findings, funded by the Health Research Board and the Medical Research Council, are published today (15 November 2016) in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.  A link to the full text of the article is available below.

More information can also be found from the press release on the NUI Galway website.

You can listen to a radio interview with RTE News at One at:

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