Dangerous bacterium shows promise as MRSA treatment, researchers discover

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Compounds derived from the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa may be an effective treatment for methicillin-resistant S. aureus, researchers have discovered.

A research team in Brazil acquired MRSA strains from the hospital of Londrina State University and from doctors at other universities. They derived antibacterial compounds from P. aeruginosa present in a citrus canker lesion on orange leaves. These compounds were purified and tested for their antibacterial properties.

Compounds called phenazines showed “inhibitory effects” against MRSA, suggesting they “may be a good alternative treatment” for the multi-drug resistant bacteria, according to the researchers. The need for such alternative treatments is pressing, as MRSA strains that are resistant to the drug of choice, vancomycin, have emerged, the researchers noted.

Caregivers in the long-term care setting may find it odd if P. aeruginosa becomes a source of MRSA drugs, because P. aeruginosa can cause serious infections in patients via catheters and other medical equipment. However, scientists are increasingly exploring how to treat MRSA using compounds from other types of bacteria, the Brazilian researchers noted.

The study appears in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.