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Press Release


Table Of Contents

September 23, 2003

Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations

(404) 639-3286



CDC awards $3 million for study of community-associated

methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA)


Four universities will receive grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research into community-associated methicillin resistant Stapylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). Approximately $3 million will be distributed to the institutions over the next three years to examine such issues as the bacteria?s genetic characteristics, characteristics of patients? illnesses and outcomes, and the mechanisms of infection and disease.


?CDC is concerned about the increasing reports of community-associated MRSA.  Controlling the spread of MRSA is a high priority in our efforts to prevent antimicrobial resistance.  We are committed to supporting new applied research to the study of MRSA in the community, and we are excited to be able to fund these grants,? said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding.


Receiving grants will be Columbia University, Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute, the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of Chicago.  The grant recipients will assemble groups of investigators with the expertise to address the key clinical and public health questions surrounding the spread of the disease.  They will collect data to help define risk factors for infection and methods of treatment.


?This funding will help us understand more about strains of MRSA causing disease in the community.  By characterizing these strains of CA-MRSA, we can enhance national and local prevention efforts,? said Dr. James M. Hughes, director of CDC?s National Center for Infectious Diseases.


The investigators and their projects are: Columbia University.  ?Prevalence of Community-MRSA in Northern Manhattan.?  Principal Investigator: Franklin Lowy.  Investigators will use surveys to examine the prevalence and correlates (TRANSLATE) of CA-MRSA.  They will examine isolates of MRSA using a variety of molecular techniques and examine the isolates for virulence.


Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute.  ?Clinical, Epidemiologic and Molecular Descriptions of Epidemic CA-MRSA.?  Principal Investigator: Loren G. Miller.  Working in Los Angeles, investigators will evaluate risk factors for CA-MRSA among adults and children, characterize isolates through molecular typing, and analyze clinical characteristics associated with infection with CA-MRSA.


University of California, San Francisco.  ?Molecular Epidemiology of Community MRSA.? Principal Investigator: Henry F. Chambers.  A group of physicians will collect MRSA isolates and associated information about infected patients in San Francisco.  Isolates will be examined using various molecular techniques, and investigators will study evolutionary relationships among MRSA isolates.


University of Chicago.  ?Community-Associated MRSA.?  Principal Investigator: Robert S. Daum.  Investigators will study clinical, epidemiological, and molecular characteristics of CA-MRSA in Chicago; Bethel, AK; Dallas; and Taiwan.  Isolates of MRSA will be analyzed using a variety of molecular techniques and assessed for virulence.


For more information about community-associated MRSA, visit CDC?s web site at .




CDC protects people?s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.




September 26, 1999 CONTACT: Melanie Bossi
PHONE: (703) 480-2515


National Institute of Health and MRL Pharmaceutical Convene First Annual Meeting on New Network on Antimorobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus

At the first annual meeting to launch the Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, or NARSA initiative, held Sept. 9-10, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and MRL Pharmaceutical Services of Herndon, Va., a division of Focus/MRL, Inc., got a jump start on planning an development on the new network. At the meeting, an expert panel of researchers conferred about the structure and operating procedures of NARSA that is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.

NARSA is a network developed by MRL Pharmaceutical for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to coordinate research focusing on antimicrobial resistance among Staphylococcus aureus (SA), a common cause of bacterial infections that can be life threatening. Strains of Staphylococcus aureus have emerged that exhibit reduced susceptibility to vancomycin, the remaining drug of choice used to treat multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Through a wide range of leading-edge communication tools NARSA will facilitate communication and establish a Network of approximately 36 NIAID-funded investigators ("Core NARSA Investigators"), staff from NIAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other basic scientists, epidemiologists, and clinical investigators whose research focuses on Staphylococcus aureus. NARSA will provide information and resources to immunologists, microbiologists, and other researchers that can have a direct and timely impact on monitoring, understanding, and ultimately controlling multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The Network will be linked through a web site and will be designed to facilitate information sharing pertaining to public health concerns of emerging strains of Staphylococcus aureus with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin and other Staphylococcal strains of public health interest. The NARSA program supports not only electronic information sharing but also supports the development of national Registry of cases of infections due to Staphylococcus aureus with reduced susceptibility or resistance to vancomycin and a Repository of well-characterized isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from these cases, including a mechanism for sharing and distributing the isolates. Sharing isolates and information through a Network will help locate and identify strains on interest previously undetected, and allows these unique isolates to be effectively provided to researchers.

The NARSA internet web site is expected to be available by the end of the year.


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May 26, 1999
CONTACT: Melanie Bossi
Phone: 703-480-2515


National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Launches Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus

Herndon, VA ? MRL Pharmaceutical Services of Herndon, Va., a division of Focus/MRL, Inc., has received a seven-year, $3.6 million National Institutes of Health contract to establish a network for tracking antimicrobial resistance among Staphylococcus aureus (SA), a common cause of bacterial infections that are often life-threatening. The company will work with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop and maintain the " Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus," or NARSA.

Developing NARSA is one part of NIAID?s aggressive actions to better understand and slow resistance of SA to the drug vancomycin ? long considered a powerful weapon against SA infections. But SA strains are being found and reported that show intermediate-level resistance to vancomycin. NARSA, therefore, is designed to link investigators ? including basic scientists, clinical microbiologists and clinical investigators ? studying these microorganisms.

"By relying on MRL?s combined expertise in microbiology and Internet technology, NARSA will provide information and resources that can have a direct and timely impact on monitoring, understanding, and hopefully controlling resistance," said MRL Chief Scientific Officer Daniel F. Sahm, Ph.D. "Linking all NIAID investigators working in this field and supplying them with important information at the same time represents the first widespread initiative of this type to help the entire scientific community find answers."

As the NARSA contractor, MRL will:

  • Establish and maintain communication links with all NARSA investigators and the NIAID;
  • Develop and maintain an Internet website and electronic bulletin board;
  • Evaluate and compare susceptibility testing methods;
  • Establish and maintain a registry of cases with documented infections due to SA with intermediate susceptibility and resistance to vancomycin;
  • Establish and maintain a repository of isolates from these cases for distribution to NARSA investigators;
  • Confirm the identity and determine the purity of the isolates;
  • Grow additional quantities of cultures of important isolates;
  • Maintain a database and computerized inventory of the isolates;
  • Conduct analyses of these data;
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other NIAID components addressing the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, and establish liaison with other public as well as professional society and industry-supported efforts in this area; and
  • Organize annual meetings of all investigators.

MRL has been committed to the diagnosis, tracking, and management of infectious disease for more than 20 years. In 1993, a new division, MRL Pharmaceutical Services, was formed to provide government, industry, medical and public health professionals with independent, objective, and reliable information concerning the global occurrence, incidence and emergence of antimicrobial resistance. MRL successfully merged microbiological expertise and information technology to create an innovative electronic approach to antimicrobial resistance surveillance known as The Surveillance Network TM Database (TSNTM Database), that collects antimicrobial susceptibility data daily. More than 200 hospitals and laboratories in the United States provide the data, in order to provide high-quality, objective, real-time information that advances the prevention and control of antimicrobial drug resistance. TSNTM Databases are currently under development in Canada, Australia and Europe; during 1999 and 2000, additional expansion is planned in Asia and Latin America.

The NARSA project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, under contract No. N01-AI-95359. Approximately 99 percent of the total costs of this project will be funded with Federal money, and approximately 1 percent of the total costs of this project will be financed by MRL Pharmaceutical Services, a division of Focus/MRL, Inc.


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