Clues shed light on fighting lethal MRSA strain

A team of researchers from the U.S. and Germany has found that community associated MRSA, a particularly virulent strain of staph infection, creates a peptide that causes immune cells to burst. The destruction of these neutrophils destroys the body's most significant line of defense against infection, leaving them vulnerable to a potentially lethal attack of MRSA. Studying mice infected with CA-MRSA, the researchers said that damage to the immune cells was apparent within five minutes of exposure.

"This elegant work helps reveal the complex strategy that S. aureus has developed to evade our normal immune defenses," Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID director, said in a statement. "Understanding what makes the infections caused by these new strains so severe and developing new drugs to treat them are urgent public health priorities."

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