UK launches research competition for AMR innovation
The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) yesterday announced the launch of a £10 million ($13 million) research competition to fund innovative efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The money will be made available in research grants funded through a small business research initiative and will fund projects that focus on infection prevention and the development of new vaccines and antimicrobials effective against bacterial and fungal infections. The projects must describe their relevance to AMR, the anticipated clinical application, and the anticipated medical benefit and value. Funding will not be provided for projects that address tuberculosis and HIV.
DHSC will evaluate projects in two simultaneous competition strands. In strand 1, up to £5 million is available for projects that explore the scientific and technical feasibility of innovative solutions through proof-of-concept studies. Strand 2 projects should be more advanced, with possible demonstration of effectiveness in humans.
"More research is critical, which is why the UK government is calling on some of the country's brightest minds to come up with new ways to prevent, control and combat these infections in the future," Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said in a department press release.
The competition opens on Jul 16.
Jul 9 DHSC press release
CARB-X to fund development of new gonorrhea treatment
CARB-X today announced funding to support the development of a new class of antibiotics to treat gonorrhea.
The award of $2 million will go to UK-based Summit Therapeutics plc, which has identified a series of novel class/novel target compounds that have shown high potency against Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains, including those that are multidrug-resistant. The money will support selection of a preclinical candidate from the lead series. Summit could receive an additional $2.5 million from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) based on achievement of certain project milestones.
"This CARB-X collaboration and funding is important to us as we aim to pioneer a new era in antibiotic innovation and allows us to accelerate the development of our first series of new mechanism of action gonorrhoea compounds," Glyn Edwards, chief executive officer of Summit, said in a CARB-X news release.
The World Health Organization has deemed gonorrhea a high priority for antibiotic research and development. According to the agency, more than 78 million new cases of gonorrhea occur each year, making it one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. Furthermore, there has been an emergence in recent years of N gonorrhoeae strains that are increasingly resistant to the only remaining antibiotics that can cure the infection. Untreated gonorrhea can result in serious and permanent health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
CARB-X is currently supporting 34 research and development projects for new antibiotics, diagnostics, and alternative treatments for drug-resistant pathogens, including 10 novel antibiotic classes. Since CARB-X was established in 2016, it has announced awards totaling $89.4 million, plus an additional $120.7 million if project milestones are met.
Jul 10 CARB-X news release
Short course of antibiotics shown effective against pneumonia
A meta-analysis published yesterday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found that, for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults, a short course of antibiotics is equally effective and potentially superior—in terms of mortality and serious adverse events—compared with a longer course.
The researchers, from Brown University in Providence, R.I., included 21 clinical trials that included 4,861 evaluable CAP patients. Nineteen of the trials were randomized. The authors considered antibiotic treatment of 6 days or less to be a short course.
They found that clinical cure rates were similar in patients taking a short course of antibiotics versus a longer course, irrespective of disease severity or patient setting. In addition, a short course was tied to almost half the mortality rate, 27% fewer serious adverse events, and a lower relapse rate.
Jul 9 Antimicrob Agents Chemother abstract