Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Jan 18, 2019

New CARB-X funding
VRE in Swiss hospitals

CARB-X provides additional funds for phage lysin to treat Pseudomonas

Contrafect Corporation announced yesterday that it has received an additional $2.3 million in funding over the next 2 years from CARB-X for the development of a phage lysin therapy to treat drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

Contrafect, of Yonkers, N.Y., was among the first wave of companies to receive funding from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) in March 2017, when it was awarded $2.1 million for development of a lysin that would selectively kill P aeruginosa. Lysins are enzymes produced by bacteriophages, the viruses that infect and destroy bacteria, to cut through the bacterial cell wall. The therapy is one of more than 30 projects targeting drug-resistant bacteria that CARB-X is funding.

"We view this additional funding from CARB-X as continued validation of our novel lysin platform, which underscores the opportunity to combat highly resistant Gram-negative pathogens, considered to be the greatest threats to global health by both the CDC and WHO, with our proprietary lysin candidates," Steven C. Gilman, PhD, chairman and CEO of ContraFect, said in a press release.

Earlier this month, Contrafect announced that another lysin candidate, execebase (CF-301), had shown positive results in a phase 2 clinical trial in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia, including endocarditis. Execebase, when used in combination with standard-of-care antibiotics, improved clinical outcomes compared with antibiotics alone and demonstrated safety and tolerability. The company said the data support progression to a phase 3 trial.
Jan 17 Contrafect press release
Jan 7 Contrafect press release


Increase in vancomycin-resistant enterococci reported in Swiss hospitals

In a study yesterday in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, Swiss researchers reported an increasing number of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) colonizations and infections in Swiss hospitals.

The findings come from a survey on infection control sent to 205 inpatient institutions in Switzerland in 2018. Overall, 142 institutions responded to the survey, with 46 (32%) reporting 625 VRE patients, of which 67 (11%) represented invasive infections. Analysis of epidemiologic data on VRE cases showed that the total number of cases per year rose from 96 in 2015 to 146 through the first 3 months of 2018, while the incidence rate increased from 0.26 cases per day in 2015 to 1.58 cases per day in 2018.

The researchers also reported that 23 outbreaks occurred during the study period. Among the 20 major outbreaks analyzed, 250 VRE cases were observed, including 10 cases (4%) of VRE bacteremia. Seventy percent (102 of 146) of new VRE cases in 2018 were outbreak-related. One of the outbreaks included the emergent clone VRE ST976, which had previously been reported only in Australia and New Zealand, where it exhibited high transmissibility.

The authors of the study said that the increase paralletls an increasing number of VRE outbreaks reported in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland in the first 3 months of 2018, and is in line with rising VRE prevalence and outbreaks reported in Germany and Italy. "A harmonized nationwide strategy for VRE containment that includes active screening surveillance, uniform standards of detection and outbreak management, reporting at a national level with a central surveillance as well as guidance for patient transfers should therefore be implemented," they concluded.
Jan 17 Antimicrob Resist Infect Control study

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