News Scan for Sep 10, 2018

Saudi MERS case
Accessible antimicrobial resistance data
New malaria drug trial

Saudi Arabia confirms new MERS case

As South Korea reported a new MERS-CoV case (see today's news story), the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH), in a new weekly epidemiological report today, noted one new MERS case in a 44-year-old man in Riyadh. The patient had camel contact, the MOH said, and he remains hospitalized.

Also today, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) situation report for August, recording nine infections during the month (eight in Saudi Arabia, one in the United Kingdom).

The new activity raised MERS case totals to 2,250 globally since 2012, including 798 deaths.
Sep 10 MOH report

Sep 10 WHO report


Report identifies actions for making pharmaceutical AMR data public

The Wellcome Trust has released a set of recommendations from a pilot project to make human antimicrobial resistance (AMR) data generated and collected by the pharmaceutical industry publicly accessible.

The 90-day pilot project, funded by Wellcome and led by the Open Data Institute, with input and advice from a steering group composed of representatives of industry, public health, and academia, aimed to come up with plans for making AMR data from pharmaceutical companies openly available for researchers, health professionals, and AMR surveillance systems. Pharmaceutical companies typically generate AMR data for their own development of antibiotics and publish papers with summarized data but do not make their complete datasets publicly accessible. Advocates believe these data can boost global AMR surveillance efforts.

The project began with a landscape analysis of the industry-generated AMR data that are currently available, based on a questionnaire sent to 11 companies. The analysis found that datasets held by pharmaceutical companies currently cover clinical isolates collected in laboratories from 93 countries, including countries where robust AMR surveillance data is limited. The analysis also found that the quality of data from industry was good, but that standardization could be improved, and that the data could be made more relevant to medical and public health professionals.

To make the AMR data from the pharmaceutical industry publicly available, and unlock the value of the data, participants at a workshop held at the end of the 90-day research phase came up with four recommendations: (1) Develop a public-private partnership among industry, public health agencies, and other AMR initiatives to provide a more informative, coherent, and openly accessible data landscape; (2) enable open innovation and data sharing within the AMR community by encouraging reuse of AMR data from the industry; (3) facilitate the development of common methodologic standards and data governance frameworks to enable data use by the scientific and public health professionals; and (4) launch an online data portal managed and governed by an independent party.

A post-project report concludes, "There is both a well-defined problem that needs solving and a community of stakeholders with the determination and commitment to do so. We recommend building on this momentum to make open pharmaceutical AMR surveillance data a reality."
September 2018 Wellcome Trust/Open Data Institute report

New malaria drug trail launched

A phase 1 clinical trial of the novel malaria treatment DM1157, a modified form of chloroquine, has begun enrolling participants, according to a press release today from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

"The increasing problem of drug resistance demands that we continue to find new and effective treatment options for malaria infection," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD.

As more and more strains of Plasmodium falciparum parasites are now resistant to chloroquine, new treatments are needed to fight malaria. According to NIAID, DM1157 interferes with the parasite's metabolism and inhibits its ability to expel the drug. Early animal testing suggests DM1157 may have the same safety and efficacy as chloroquine. 

The study, which is expected to end by June of 2019, will enroll 104 human subjects and will assess safety measure how injection of DM1157 interacts with food consumption.
Sep 10 NIAID press release



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