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New vaccine from University of Iowa protects against lethal pneumonia caused by staph bacteria

University of Iowa researchers have developed a new vaccine that protects against lethal pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA.

The research team was led by Patrick Schlievert, professor and chair of microbiology in the UI Carver College of Medicine. The findings are published this week in the Journal of Infectious Disease.

The new vaccine targets toxins that are made and secreted by staph bacteria. Earlier work by Schlievert's team found these toxins are responsible for the serious, sometimes deadly, symptoms produced by staph infections, including high fever, low blood pressure, and toxic shock. The researchers believed a vaccine that blocked the action of these toxins might prevent the serious illness caused by the bacteria.

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