Every year in the United States, 2 million people become infected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or "staph," and 100,000 of them die. Skin infections are the most common, but staph infections of the lung (pneumonia) and bloodstream (bacteremia) are the deadliest.
A staph vaccine would save lives and money, reduce the use of antibiotics, and slow the spread of antibiotic resistance. That is, if a vaccine is targeted to people when their risk of becoming infected with staph is highest—when they go to the hospital for surgery or some other invasive procedure. That’s because the science suggests that even the most successful vaccine will provide immunity for just a limited time. But we are still far from being able to vaccinate against staph.
This policy brief from Extending the Cure examines the obstacles around developing a staph vaccine.