Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, is a staph bacterial infection that is resistant to most antibiotics, making it difficult to cure. The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new MRSA treatment known as oritavancin.
MRSA is best known as the infection spread through hospitals, but is also commonly spread through communities, schools, prisons or other crowded areas. Since it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, the infection is spread in areas with crowding and sanitation deficiencies.
While developing countries may lack the medical records and diagnostic technology to confirm MRSA cases, the usual envirnoment in hospitals and crowded areas point to them as areas where MRSA can commonly spread. Surprisingly, the infection is also very common among hospitals in developing countries as well, making it a disease dangerous around the globe. While scientists are developing a way to treat people once infected, the simplest way of preventing it is simple sanitary solutions such as hand washing.
Once MRSA is in the body, it can cause infections of the valves of the heart or large abscesses. While many diseases need a cut or break in the skin to transfer, it has been recently discovered that MRSA just needs skin on skin. Although it is transferred easily and begins as a simple skin infection, in some cases it can lead to death.
The beauty of oritavancin as a MRSA treatment is that it is able to remain in the body for long periods of time, which eliminates the need to take antibiotics on a daily basis for up to a few weeks. This way, patients can lessen their time getting treated in the hospital and take away the risk of skipping antibiotic treatments.
In a study done to test the drug, researchers held a trial with 475 patients given one dose of oritavancin and 479 patients with one of the classic antibiotic vancomycin twice a day for 7-10 days. The results showed that the single dose of oritavancin worked just as well as the multiple doses of vancomycin.
The FDA has flagged the investigational drug as a “priority review,” meaning the regulatory agency must consider its application within six months. According to the Medicines Company website, the FDA’s action date for the drug is Aug. 6, 2014.