FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

MRSA genome sequencing leads to better understanding of disease severity

Researchers at the University of Bath released study results on Thursday that revealed the genome sequence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which may lead to personalized treatment for individual infections.

"The standard approach has always been to focus on a single or small number of genes and proteins," Ruth Massey, the lead researcher from the University of Bath, said.

Since toxicity is complex, the approach was not always successful.

During this study, the research team used genome sequences from 90 MRSA isolates that varied in toxicity to identify genetic loci that determined toxicity. They discovered that highly toxic isolates shared a genetic signature, which allowed scientists to predict which isolates were likely to cause severe disease.

Massey said the cost and time needed to complete genome sequencing is decreasing, allowing sequencing research to be completed more readily and making personalized treatment for toxic diseases more feasible.

She said sequencing might be used to learn more about how to treat the infection, such as determining which antibiotics to prescribe and if the patient should be isolated to prevent spread of the infection.

The researchers are working to apply the methodology of genome sequencing to additional bacterial pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumonia, which is a leading cause of death in infants and children.