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Clinical Trial on Fighting MRSA Infections in Southern California To Begin With 10 Million Dollar Grant

Posted Oct 05 2010 11:47pm

This is not your regular clinical trial as we think of, but rather using soap and mouthwash that contains Chlorhexadine to be given to a patient upon release from the hospital.  Hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange County will identify patients with MRSA or staph infections.  In addition patients will receive an ointment containing Mupirocin that is applied in the nose, since this is where staph likes to live. image

The study will involve 1700 candidates over an 18 month time frame and some may be aware of the fact that they have the bacteria.  The participants will be monitored for a year and half the participants will receive educational information only.  The hope here is to prevent the next infection via proper release and home care treatments.  Chlorhexadine has been known to work well against MRSA, but there has been little documentation and I hope for all this is a success against the killing bacteria.  If you have been to a dentist and received any type of prescription mouthwash, you may have already experienced Chlorhexadine and now the option of the FDA approved chemical in soap is being explored too.

A UC Irvine doctor is hoping that a special soap, mouthwash and nasal ointment can prevent staph infections caused by the drug-resistant bacterium MRSA.

Dr. Susan Huang has received a $10 million grant from the Obama administration’s stimulus package to run a randomized clinical trial of the treatments. If the study is successful, the treatments could help the estimated 1 percent of Americans — about 1.8 million people — who are carriers of MRSA.

About one-third of Americans have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin or in their noses, but the vast majority of the time they’re harmless. “Nobody knows what makes some people susceptible and others not,” Huang said. “But there are risk factors.”

Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UCI Medical Center and an assistant professor at the university’s infectious disease school, says her research will provide the first close look at home treatments offered after someone has left the hospital. ”We’re trying to look at whether or not we can prevent the next infection from occurring,” she said.

In the forthcoming clinical trial, half of the subjects will receive a regimen designed to “decolonize” the MRSA bacteria. The treatments include soap and mouthwash containing Chlorhexadine, which Huang says has been used for decades in hospitals and is a proven weapon against MRSA, but “it’s not been standardized, and it’s not well-studied in trial form,” Huang said. That test group also will get Mupirocin, an ointment made by GlaxoSmithKline that’s applied in the nose, “because that’s where staph likes to live,” she said.

The $10 million grant came from a program of the 2009 federal stimulus package called the CHOICE program, which provides money to study the effectiveness of various medical treatments.

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