Oral probiotics control chronic staph aureus infections - bacteria previously thought to mainly colonise nose and skin
These yellow spheres are Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the surface of a human immune cell (blue). They are found in, and on, about a third of the human population and are generally harmless except, that is, for when they’re not. S. aureus can cause severe and potentially fatal infections of the skin, soft tissues, bone and blood, and especially dangerous are the drug-resistant strains – so called, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The bacteria were thought to mainly inhabit the skin and nose, but recent research shows they are most abundant in the gut. This discovery led researchers to test whether probiotics – oral doses of friendly bacteria – could suppress S. aureus colonisation. And they could – by around ninety-five percent. Probiotics work more slowly than traditional antibiotics for tackling infections, but they can be taken for much longer without harm, and will likely be able to tackle MRSA strains when regular drugs cannot.
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