Background: Staphylococcus aureus is a major bacterial pathogen capable of causing a range
of infections in humans from gastrointestinal disease, skin and soft tissue infections, to severe outcomes
such as sepsis. Staphylococcal infections in humans can be frequent and recurring, with treatments becoming
less effective due to the growing persistence of antibiotic resistant S. aureus strains. Due to the
prevalence of antibiotic resistance, and the current limitations on antibiotic development, an active and
highly promising avenue of research has been to develop strategies to specifically inhibit the activity of
virulence factors produced S. aureus as an alternative means to treat disease.
Objective: In this review we specifically highlight several major virulence factors produced by S.
aureus for which recent advances in antivirulence approaches may hold promise as an alternative
means to treating diseases caused by this pathogen. Strategies to inhibit virulence factors can range
from small molecule inhibitors, to antibodies, to mutant and toxoid forms of the virulence proteins.
Conclusion: The major prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains of S. aureus combined with the lack of
new antibiotic discoveries highlight the need for vigorous research into alternative strategies to combat
diseases caused by this highly successful pathogen. Current efforts to develop specific antivirulence
strategies, vaccine approaches, and alternative therapies for treating severe disease caused by S. aureus
have the potential to stem the tide against the limitations that we face in the post-antibiotic era.