Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is a significant public health issue, especially in the nursing home and hospital population.
These infections unfortunately affect the most vulnerable population such as the elderly and the immunocompromised (hospitalized, cancer, chronically ill). Infections such as MRSA and Pseudomonas are especially problematic for nursing home patients who are at high risk for these infections. Once these patients have these infections, it is usually associated with high mortality rate followed by high health care utilization burden due to the complications.
An attractive mitigation strategy is through prevention such as infection control in the nursing home with frequent hand washing and aseptic methods of dealing with patients. Another mitigation strategy that has worked well based on public health data is through appropriate vaccination. Nursing home patients accounts for up to 20% of hospital admission in the United States for an infection and it is associated with approximately $10,000 per admission. Nursing home infections and costs will continue to increase as the elderly population in the world continues to grow. An effective vaccine to organisms such as MRSA and Pseudomonas will provide additional protection for these vulnerable patients by cutting down cost and also improving health care delivery quality.
Vaccines to MRSA and Pseudomonas have evaded drug developers because of their virulence factor. For example, MRSA causes infection not only through the bacterium itself but also its associated toxins. A toxoid vaccine has been explored before but never shown to be effective due to the denaturalization of the toxin to ensure the safety of the vaccine. The Cellular Nanosponge technology allows us to develop both a toxoid vaccine by detaining the native toxins within the Cellular Nanosponge without disrupting the antigen integrity. Early data from the MRSA and pseudomonas vaccine work have shown great promise in leveraging the Cellular Nanosponge technology for the development of vaccines.