Soap and water and liquid sanitizer don't always hold up when it comes to MRSA. It's the mutation of a basic staph infection, and it's resistant to almost all antibiotics. It was enough to knock Christopher Flynn out cold.
"I went to bed one day because I felt achy, and I basically woke up 10 days later," Flynn told Ivanhoe.
The bacteria attached itself to Flynn's hip implant and spread throughout his body. North Carolina State University professor Dr. Christian Melander may have the solution. It's a compound called SPAR, or "suppressor of antibiotic resistance," and it cracks drug-resistant codes.
"It's the first thing that I've ever seen this happen with, and I've looked," Dr. Christian Melander, Ph.D., said.
These infections build defensive walls that resist antibiotics. Dr. Melander's SPAR turns off the genes that make those walls allowing standard drugs to work again.
"In the presence of our compound, those genes can't be turned on, and they act just like regular bacteria," Dr. Melander added.
MRSA kills 19,000 people per year in the U.S. Another bacteria similar to MRSA called M-Drab, is now attacking war vets -- many infected by improvised explosive devices. In a recent study, 10 percent of Iraqi vets treated had the infection. Now, a creation from inside the lab may soon help soldiers and civilians win the battle against bacteria.
Dr. Melander's SPAR substance is made in the lab and is a salt of an organic compound. It's been successful during in-vitro studies, and animal-based studies are on the horizon. Meanwhile, his staff is working with Walter Reed Army Medical Center to see if SPAR helps prevent additional war wounds.
If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at firstname.lastname@example.org