is a gram+ bacteria commonly found in farm animals & humans,
especially, on skin & in nasal passages. [pic & Science cover]
when cultured in lab it's intensely yellow (Latin: aureus = "gold")
in susceptible hosts: neonates, immunologically suppressed, & surgical patients
Staph can cause serious (often lethal) noscomial (acquired in hospital) infections
including: pneumonia, endocarditis, toxic shock, & sepsis (lethal)
Gram+ indicates a
bacterial capsule is present, but until 1980's
couldn't be identified in Staph. In 1989 Walter Karakowa (PSU) had
identified 2 isolates of Staph that accounted for 85% of all infections.
carbohydrates from these isolates John Robbins (NIH)
made a conjugate vaccine (CH2O + protein complex) to trick T-cells
into thinking it was an antigen to Staph. Trials indicated some success
with this Staph vaccine, but many were skeptical... Would any antibodies
made with this vaccine protect against future infections?
In 1996, a mouse model was created by Ali Fattom (Nabi Corporation of Boca Raton), in
which the conjugate vaccine protected mice against lethal injections of Staph.
A short while later, when tried on a rat infection endocarditis model, the vaccine also worked.
trials (late 1999) in patients on hemodialysis and in end stage renal
(patients with high Staph infection rates) showed a statically significant
lowered infection rate (only 11 of 892 vaccinated patients). However,
antibody titer in these patients dropped in only 10 months.
Human trials on patients awaiting surgery have been successful
and in 2004 Nabi has filed a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) with the
European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA).
(in stage I
FDA trials) has
the potential to be a very effective antibiotic
against Staph infections in an era when anitbiotic-resistance threatens medicine.