News Scan for Feb 05, 2020

New DRC Ebola case
Antibiotic combo for pneumonia
Avian flu in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

Latest Ebola case in DRC lifts total to 3,429 infections

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) online Ebola dashboard, a new case today lifts the outbreak total to 3,429 confirmed Ebola cases in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The WHO also noted 123 probable cases, and 473 suspected cases still under investigation.

Since the outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces began in August 2018, 2,246 people have died from Ebola virus disease (EVD).

In its latest situation report on the outbreak, the WHO said that, of six cases reported last week, five were in known contacts, a good sign that transmission chains are known to health authorities. All six cases were found in Beni and Mabalako, recent hot spots in the outbreak.

In the past 3 weeks, officials have tracked 25 new Ebola cases, with 18 in Beni and 7 in Mabalako.

"New confirmed EVD cases continue to be reported in Beni and Mabalako Health Zones in North Kivu Province," the WHO said. "Sustained and secure access to affected areas and heightened vigilance is required to continue essential response activities in order to refer and to test alert cases as soon as possible, treat confirmed cases early, and to tackle further transmission of the disease in the community and in healthcare facilities."
WHO Ebola dashboard
Feb 4 WHO situation report


FDA to review drug for hospital-acquired, ventilator-associated pneumonia

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for priority review a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the antibacterial combination drug Recarbrio to treat adult patients with hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia (HABP) and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP) caused by gram-negative pathogens.

Recarbrio, developed and marketed by Merck, is a combination of the antibiotic imipenem-cilastatin and the novel beta-lactamase inhibitor relebactam. It was approved by the FDA in July 2019 to treat patients who have complicated urinary tract infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections and no alternative treatment options. The sNDA is based on the results of a phase 3 clinical trial in adult patients with HABP/VABP.

"This submission reinforces Merck's continued dedication to researching and developing potential antibiotic treatment options which address unmet medical needs," Nicholas Kartsonis, MD, Merck Research Laboratories senior vice president of clinical research in infectious diseases and vaccines, said in a company press release.

The FDA is expected to make a decision on the sNDA by early June.
Feb 3 Merck press release


Saudi Arabia, Vietnam report avian flu outbreaks

For the first time since 2018, Saudi Arabian officials have detected H5N8 avian flu at a poultry farm in Sudair in Riyadh province in the center of the country.

The outbreak began on Jan 30, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The virus killed 22,700 birds, and officials culled an additional 385,300 birds to help curb disease spread.

The OIE also noted an outbreak of H5N6 at a village in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. A total of 2,500 cases were detected including 2,200 fatal ones, and an additional 300 birds were euthanized as part of infection control measures.

The province is located in the northeast corner of Vietnam, on the border with China.
Feb 4 OIE report on H5N8 in Saudi Arabia
Feb 4 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam

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