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Fully automated and integrated microfluidic platform for real-time molecular diagnosis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
EC contribution
: € 2.095.800
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/10/2006
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: Magnetic nanoparticles, microfluidics, quantitative PCR, antimicrobial resistance, MRSA, molecular diagnostics
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHM-CT-2006-037957
Project web-site


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent organism resistant to many drugs, is responsible for most nosocomial and community-acquired infections. It can cause life-threatening diseases, and treatment options are limited. Effective diagnostics is a strategic key element in the campaign against the spread of MRSA, allowing better infection surveillance and control measures as well as more efficient patient treatment and/or isolation options. The MagRSA project aims at the development of a new diagnostics platform that will provide a fast, simple and accurate identification of MRSA from clinical samples.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an organism resistant to many drugs, is seen with increasing frequency in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It can cause life-threatening disease, and treatment options are limited. MRSA infections are associated with a 40% mortality when found in the blood of patients suffering from severe staphylococcal infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), resistance of Staphylococcus aureus to methicillin, its usual antibiotic, increased from 2% in 1975 to 60% today and no new antibiotic is expected on the market before many years. Whereas MRSA is considered as a nosocomial pathogen, recent reports showed an increasing number of outbreaks in the community, despite the absence of known risk factors (prior hospitalization, antibiotic use or household contacts from the healthcare system). A relatively large spread of MRSA strains within the gay community was recently reported several European countries and the United States. Such atypical MRSA is known to produce a potent toxin causing severe skin infections and necrotising pneumonia in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent individuals.
With such critical health issues, an early detection of MRSA carriers is crucial for infection control strategies but also to take appropriate therapeutic decisions, avoiding non-appropriate utilization of last barrier antimicrobial agents. Strategies to fight MRSA transmission are indeed well-described, and can efficiently reduce subsequent colonization and infection. However, for cost issues and better patient management, these strategies need to be focused on patients with confirmed MRSA and defined resistance phenotype.

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