Researchers Discover Genes Behind Resistance in Deadly Superbug Infections

While common, Staphylococcus aureus infections--known as “golden staph”--can be life-threatening if the bacteria enter the bloodstream, causing sepsis. Golden staph is notorious for its ability to become resistant to antibiotics, making it hard to treat, which can lead to adverse health outcomes for patients infected with a drug-resistant form of the bacteria. In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, published on September 12, 2023 in Cell Reports, researchers led by ones at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), analyzed the unique genetic profiles of more than 1,300 golden staph strains. By combining this data with patient and antibiotic information, the researchers found that, while patient factors are critical in determining mortality risks, specific genes are linked to antibiotic resistance, along with the bacteria’s ability to linger in the blood, evading antibiotics and the immune system. The open-access article is titled “A Statistical Genomics Framework to Trace Bacterial Genomic Predictors of Clinical Outcomes in Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia.”
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