News Scan for Aug 18, 2021

Network for resistant-infection trials
Global flu still low

New Asian clinical trial network aims to tackle resistant infections

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has received a $1.8 million grant from the Wellcome Trust to establish a clinical trial network focused on antibiotic-resistant infections.

The Asian Clinical Research Network will carry out clinical trials to help develop the most effective ways to treat drug-resistant infections and help improve access to clinically relevant and vulnerable populations. It's the first such network established in Asia, a region with high rates of antibiotic resistance.

The United Nations estimates that antibiotic-resistant infections could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050, and experts predict that half of those deaths could come from Asia.

"A clinical research network based in Asia will significantly increase the quality and efficiency of clinical trials in the region, resulting in an improved understanding of drug-resistant infections, improved treatment of those infections and an increase in the supply of new drugs to fight antimicrobial resistance," Hsu Li Yang, an infectious disease expert and Vice Dean of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said in a university press release. "The joint funding will also spur research collaboration and capacity building both in Singapore and the region to jointly develop solutions to the issue of antimicrobial resistance."

NUS will host the center and work with other partners in Singapore to run the clinical trials.

"We are thrilled to launch this important clinical research network with NUS and partners," said Tim Jinks, PhD, head of the Drug Resistant Infections Priority Program at the Wellcome Trust. "This multi-institutional and international collaboration will strengthen and build research capabilities in Asia and support world-class science." 
Aug 17 NUS press release


World flu activity stays sporadic; flu B more common than flu A

Global flu activity remained at very low levels, as it has for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, with influenza B the most commonly detected strain, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update, which covers the last half of July.

Flu is still at interseasonal levels in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Sporadic detections were reported in some parts of the world, including western and eastern Africa and in some South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Of the few respiratory samples that tested positive for flu at national flu labs, 57.2% were influenza B, and of those, all but two samples were the Victoria lineage. Of subtyped influenza A samples, 85.8% were H3N2.

The WHO emphasized that flu surveillance and circulation are likely reduced by COVID measures.
Aug 16 WHO global flu update

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