SNP-based assay for analysis of MRSA

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University: University of Edinburgh

Sector(s): Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences

About Opportunity:

This assay is a rapid and reproducible approach for epidemiological analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clinical isolates. The assay identifies different strains on EMRSA-15, which is a major cause of hospital acquired MRSA infections in the UK and in other parts of the world.

Epidemiological analysis of hospital outbreaks is critical to inform effective infection control procedures but existing typing methodologies have limited capacity to discriminate closely-related strains, and are often poorly reproducible between laboratories. Unlike established methods the DNA sequence-based method is ideally suited for inter-laboratory comparison of identified genotypes, and its flexibility lends itself to supplementation with additional SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) or markers for the identification of novel S. aureus strains in other regions of the world.

This SNP-based assay is based on genome analysis of 17 Scottish EMRSA-15 strains that have been fully sequenced allowing identification of SNPs. The assay has been validated by genotyping all EMRSA-15 bacteraemia isolates collected during a 12 month period from healthcare facilities in the East of Scotland, resulting in the identification of 19 distinct genotypes among the 43 isolates examined. Unlike other established methods such as PFGE, the method is ideally suited for inter-laboratory comparison of identified genotypes, and the flexibility of the SNP-based assay lends itself to supplementation with additional SNPs or markers for the identification of novel MRSA strains in other regions of the world.

Key Publication:

Holmes A, McAllister G, McAdam PR, Hsien Choi S, Girvan K, Robb A, Edwards G, Templeton K, Fitzgerald JR. (July 2013) Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism-based assay for high-resolution epidemiological analysis of the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus hospital clone EMRSA-15. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Vol: E-pub 9 August 2013.

Key Benefits:

  • Successfully distinguishes between closely related strains of EMRSA-15
  • Unlike PFGE the SNP based method is well suited for comparison between labs


  • Enables epidemiological analysis of hospital outbreaks of EMRSA-15

IP Status:

Access to the protocol explaining the assay procedure will be provided following acceptance of the University's Open Technology standard terms and conditions.

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