CARB-X announces first award for 2018, two more funding rounds
CARB-X, a public-private collaboration that supports companies in early-stage antibiotic discovery and development, recently announced its first funding award for 2018 and provided details about two funding rounds for the current year.
CARB-X said in a Feb 15 announcement that it is funding Curza, based in Salt Lake City, to support the development of a new class of antibiotics to treat a broad spectrum of life-threatening gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to currently available antibiotics. Curza's initial award is worth up to $2.2 million, with the possibility of $1.8 million more if it achieves certain milestones.
Kevin Outterson, JD, executive director of CARB-X, said in a statement from the group, "Curza's new class of antibiotics is an exciting addition to the Powered by CARB-X portfolio as it has been decades since the last new class was approved to for gram-negative bacteria." Curza's CZ-02 series is designed to kill bacteria with known resistance to other ribosomal antibiotics by binding to a clinically undrugged and highly conserved site on the bacterial ribosome.
The drugs have a unique mechanism that maximizes penetration of bacterial cells that leads to potent activity against drug-resistant ESKAPE pathogens, which include Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species.
In another CARB-X development, the group today announced two funding rounds, one open from Mar 22 through Mar 29, targeting new classes of direct-acting small-molecule and large-molecule antibacterials that target certain gram-negative bacteria. The second round is open from Jun 1 through Jun 8 and includes direct-acting therapies and a broader scope of vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and devices that meet certain criteria.
Outterson said, "The scope of each funding cycle has been carefully designed to meet the most urgent needs in the global pipeline to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections and respond to the rising threat of drug resistant bacteria."
Feb 15 CARB-X press release
Feb 20 CARB-X press release
MRSA bacteremia rates higher in states with more African-Americans
A new analysis of hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (HO-MRSAB) rates suggests that states with more African-American residents have higher incidence, researchers reported yesterday in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
In the study, researchers looked at state-level HO-MRSAB data for the year 2013 obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at census-derived demographic and socioeconomic variables. Although variations in HO-MRSAB rates among states have been explained by differences in the quality of infection-control practices, the researchers wanted to evaluate whether risk factors that have been well-studied at the individual level (including race, age, gender, and diabetic status) affect variations among populations.
Univariate analysis demonstrated significant positive correlations between HO-MRSAB rates and poverty rates, income inequality, percent of the population with diabetes, and the percent of the population that self-identify as African-American. But on multivariable analysis, the researchers found that African-American identity was the only variable that retained statistical significance.
While acknowledging that the findings suggest only a correlation and require further investigation, the authors of the study say that identifying population-level risk factors for HO-MRSAB is the first step toward developing risk-adjustment tools that would allow for more meaningful comparisons among states and more accurate estimates of the contribution of infection-control practices.
Feb 19 Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol abstract
FAO warns about antimicrobial resistance in Asia-Pacific
Diseases originating in animals (called zoonotic diseases) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are converging in Asia-Pacific nations and threatening human health, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific warned today.
"We need to take action on AMR now because it affects us all," Juan Lubroth, DVM, FAO's chief veterinarian and AMR coordinator, said in an FAO news release. He added that antimicrobial overuse and misuse in humans and animals are resulting in the spread of AMR, which is complicating the treatment of many infectious diseases.
"Antibiotics and other antimicrobials are vital to treat sick animals and to protect public health by preventing the spread of disease and by keeping pathogens off our plates," Lubroth told delegates at the Prince Mahidol Awards Conference in Bangkok, where the theme of this year's annual conference is AMR and emerging infectious diseases.
"Governments have a responsibility to their country and to the global community to step-up and ensure that adequate regulations for antimicrobial use and distribution are in-place and enforced," said Lubroth, "This responsibility extends to providing incentive programmes and enabling mechanisms to help farmers transition away from an unsustainable dependency on antibiotics."
The FAO is working with Asia-Pacific countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, and Vietnam to develop and implement National Action Plans on AMR to raise awareness, promote good practices and legislation, and boost surveillance. The agency has also developed and piloted the Assessment Tool for Laboratories and Antimicrobial Surveillance Systems (ATLASS) in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to help them assess their national AMR surveillance systems and laboratories.
Feb 20 FAO regional office news release
Study finds anti-parasite drug effect against drug-resistant Staph
Investigators looking at the performance of three anti-parasite drugs against Staphylococcus aureus discovered that one of them, ivermectin, demonstrated potent anti-staphylococcal activity against some Staphylococcus isolates, including one that was resistant to methicillin and cefoxitin, according to a study today in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.
Canadian and Pakistani researchers tested ivermectin, levamisole, and albendazole against 21 S aureus isolates from bovine milk collected in Lahore and Faisalabad, Pakistan.
They found that ivermectin but not the other drugs exhibited a potent anti-staphylococcal activity at the concentrations of 6.25 and 12.5 micrograms per milliliter against two isolates. One of those isolates was sensitive to methicillin and cefoxitin, while the other was resistant to the two drugs.
The authors conclude, "Our novel findings indicate that ivermectin has an anti-bacterial effect against certain S. aureus isolates. However, to comprehend why ivermectin did not inhibit the growth of all Staphylococci needs further investigation."
Feb 20 Antimicrob Resist Infect Control study