News Scan for May 15, 2018

Funding for rapid UTI test
Global flu holds steady
Infections in TB contacts

CARB-X to fund rapid diagnostic test for UTIs

CARB-X is adding another diagnostic system to its growing portfolio of products targeting drug-resistant bacteria.

The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator announced today that it will award MicrobeDx of Los Angeles $900,000 to support development of the company's rapid diagnostic system for bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs). The company could receive an additional $2.6 million based on achievement of certain project milestones.

The technology uses a ribosomal RNA-based assay and desktop-based system to identify bacterial infections from a urine sample in 30 minutes and produce antibiotic susceptibility results within 3 hours. Current methods of diagnosing UTIs and determining the most appropriate antibiotic take 2 to 3 days.

"MicrobeDx's technology addresses a critical unmet need: rapid, accurate and cost-effective near-to-care testing that enables correct antibiotic therapy from the patient's first dose," MicrobeDX Chairman and CEO Bernard Churchill, MD, said in a CARB-X press release.

Since 2016, CARB-X has awarded more than $87 million to companies in the early-stage of developing new antibiotics, diagnostics, and other therapeutics for treating the most serious drug-resistant pathogens.
May 15 CARB-X press release

WHO: Flu holds at inter-seasonal levels but starts to rise in Southern Hemisphere

In its latest global flu update, the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday noted some rising flu activity throughout the Southern Hemisphere, including tropical regions in the Americas. But around the world, flu remains within typical seasonal thresholds.

Flu dropped to inter-seasonal levels for all of the Northern Hemisphere, except for some countries in Eastern Europe and the western parts of the Russian federation.

In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, flu was at inter-seasonal levels, with cases divided equally among influenza A and B strains. Influenza also decreased throughout all parts of Asia.

Some countries in South America, including Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela, reported some flu activity.

Among positive flu specimens collected in the last week of April, 56.1% were typed as influenza A and 43.9% as influenza B, according to the WHO. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 54.6% were H1N1 and 45.4% were H3N2.  The vast majority of B viruses (84.9%) belonged to the B-Yamagata lineage.
May 14 WHO update


Close contacts of TB patients have higher rates of disease, study finds

Close contacts of tuberculosis (TB) patients are at an increased risk of contracting the disease within 3 months of index patient diagnosis, according to new research led by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published today in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Approximately 5% to 10% of close contacts of TB patients are known to contract the disease within 2 years of initial contact, the authors said, but those rates were last measured 50 years ago. To update these numbers, the researchers enrolled 4,490 close contacts of 718 index TB patients selected from nine health departments in the United States and Canada.

The study took place from 2002 to 2006. Close contacts were defined as people who shared airspace with an individual who had pulmonary TB in indoor settings for more than 180 hours during an infectious period.

Officials diagnosed 158 contacts (4%) with TB, and 75% of those cases were diagnosed by or within 3 months of close contact.

"High rates and rapid progression to tuberculosis were particularly notable among young children: among contacts 0-5 years of age, 10% developed tuberculosis, and 59% of all cases  were diagnosed by 1 month and 93% by 3 months after index case diagnosis," the authors concluded.
May 15 J Infect Dis study

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