Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) is an opportunistic human pathogen that is commonly associated with hospital-acquired infection outbreaks with hundreds of thousands of cases occurring each year. Of particular concern is the subset of incidents that result from Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections. The majority of MRSA infections that occur in the United States are healthcare-associated (HCA) and bloodstream-related (i.e., bacteremia), which results in a mortality rate between 15-50%.

Figure 1. Breakdown of community-associated (CA) and healthcare-associated community-onset (HACO) MRSA infections in 2014. Source: CDC Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs).

Due to the prevalence of MRSA infections in hospitals, there has been an effort to improve sanitation and avoid transmission of Staph among patients. These measures have been able to reduce the incidence rate of HCA MRSA infections by nearly 50% from 2005 to 2014. This has also resulted in a reduction in the mortality rate from 19% in 2005 to 13% in 2014.

Figure 2. Incidence and mortality rates for community-acquired (CA) and healthcare-associated (HCA) invasive MRSA infections from 2005-2014. Source: CDC Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs).


We are currently validating antigens that prevent colonization of MRSA for use in hospital patients.