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Scientists help develop new compound to tackle MRSA

External Sites:
-A simple guide to MRSA - Department of Health
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

For immediate release
Thursday 8 December 2005

Scientists from Imperial College London have helped develop an innovative compound which can rapidly kill MRSA.

Research published online in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, reveals that a novel compound AQ+, was effective at killing all Staphylococcus aureus strains tested.

Dr Mark Enright Opens in new window from Imperial College London, who led the research, said: "The number of hospital acquired infections is increasing and this is causing major problems for healthcare professionals. AQ+ could prove to be of tremendous importance in fighting hospital infections as not only is it extremely potent against MRSA, but is also effective against other types of bacteria."

MRSA treated by AQ+ compound

After clinical trials the researchers hope the compound will be used in gels for hand washing in hospitals, to treat infections on the skin and also to eradicate MRSA from patients and staff carrying the bacteria.

Dr Enright adds: "AQ+ could prove particularly useful as it is effective across all different types of bacteria tested including those which are currently resistant to antibiotic treatment, such as MRSA."

The active ingredient of AQ+ is the molecule 8-Hydroxyquiniline (8-H). 8-H works by coating the bacteria cells, starving the bacteria by inhibiting the uptake of metals that they need to survive.

The researchers found that AQ+ killed all bacterial strains when used at a concentration of 10 per cent and was able to inhibit their growth at a 0.5 per cent concentration. Further detailed analysis of a subset of bacterial strains showed that 99.9 per cent were killed by a 0.5 percent concentration within six hours.

The work was funded by a research grant from AQ+ PLC.

For further information please contact:

Tony Stephenson
Press Officer
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Notes to editors:

1. In vitro activity of a novel compound, the metal ion chelating agent AQ+, against clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

2. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.