green tick

Golden staph vaccine in the pipeline

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A potential vaccine for golden staph is being developed in Australia, with researchers calling for human trial volunteers.

Lead researcher Dr Peter Richmond, head of the Vaccine Trials Group at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, said the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria was posing a rising challenge to health authorities because antibiotic-resistant strains were now commonplace in hospitals and health care facilities.

There were was also signs these superbug variants were circulating in the community, he said, and a vaccine that could prevent serious infections would help to save lives across the world.

"This is the first time [the prototype vaccine] has been used in man," Dr Richmond said.

"What we'll hopefully find out is what sort of boost to immunity the vaccine gives and whether or not it could stop you carrying this bug."

He said between 20 and 40 per cent of the population were unknowing carriers of the bacteria, which usually live benignly on the skin or in the nose.

According to Dr Richmond, surgical patients who contracted a golden staph infection took three times longer to recover than normal and the vaccine could eventually be given to people ahead of surgery.

"At the moment, we don't really know how we're going to use it, but we do know that Staphylococcus aureus is a major problem," he said.

"It's very exciting really. Potentially this might be a way to prevent this very serious public health problem. Potentially, this would be a blockbuster vaccine."

Healthy volunteers aged 18 to 24 years old and 50 to 85 years old can register for the trial by ringing (08) 9340 8542.


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