Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a severe public health concern. Bacteria that cause serious human infections are becoming overwhelmingly resistant to all the antibiotics currently in medical use. Antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is particularly concerning because this bacterium can cause blood, skin and wound infections which, if not treated properly, can lead to serious outcomes including prolonged hospitalization, amputations, and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistant bacteria account for over 2,000,000 illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States alone.(1) Globally, the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria has been accompanied by an 80-150% increase in blood stream infection mortality since the year 2000, and worldwide reports indicate that 50% of Staphylococcus aureus isolates or more are MRSA.(2,3)
Traditionally, Staphylococcus aureus infections are treated with β-lactam class antibiotics (including penicillin and the cephalosporins). β-lactam antibiotics have proven extremely safe for human use and are excellent first line antibiotics. Unfortunately, MRSA is entirely resistant to β-lactam antibiotics forcing health care providers to turn to more toxic antibiotic alternatives which can lead to undesirable side effects for patients.