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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 16:04 GMT
Scientists employ MRSA 'enemies'
MRSA (c Pfizer)
MRSA is a potentially deadly bacteria
Scientists in Glasgow believe they have found a way to beat the hospital superbug MRSA.

Researchers at Strathclyde University have developed wound dressings and stitches containing waterborne viruses which kill the bacteria.

These have been created to target the three most common strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which account for 95% of hospital infections in the UK.

MRSA is a potentially deadly bacteria which affects an estimated 10,000 patients every year in Scotland.

What we are able to do is put these bacteriophage into the materials that make stitches or wound dressings
Dr Mike Mattey
Strathclyde University
It has become resistant to most antibiotics because of their overuse in hospitals.

MRSA is particuarly prevalent in older, vulnerable patients and those undergoing invasive surgery.

Scientists at Strathclyde University's Department of Bioscience aim to control MRSA by destoying the bacteria within the wounds where it thrives.

Bioscience lecturer Dr Mike Mattey said: "What we are using are the natural enemies of bacteria, the diseases that bacteria actually get in nature. They are called bacteriophage.

"What we are able to do is put these bacteriophage into the materials that make stitches or wound dressings.

Human trials

"When you get a wound stitched up the bacteriophage are present and stable in the wound, and stay there until they are needed."

It has taken the team four years to get to their current stage.

If human trials are successful, it is hoped that the treatment could be available for use in about five years.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Laura Maciver
"It has taken four years to get to this stage"



SEE ALSO:
Q&A: MRSA 'superbugs'
13 Dec 02 |  Health
Sharp rise in 'superbug' deaths
13 Dec 02 |  Health
UK top of superbug league
14 Mar 02 |  Health


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