Antibiotic eye drops linked to shorter symptom duration for conjunctivitis
A randomized clinical trial and meta-analysis of previous trials found that topical antibiotics were associated with significantly shorter symptom duration in children with acute infective conjunctivitis, researchers reported today in JAMA Network Open.
The trial, conducted from October 2014 to February 2020, enrolled children ages 6 months to 7 years of age who had acute infective conjunctivitis, which is typically caused by bacteria, and randomized them to receive either moxifloxacin eye drops, placebo eye drops, or no intervention. The primary outcome of the trial was time to clinical cure. The trial also included a subsequent meta-analysis that included the results of the present trial, along with three previously conducted trials, and looked at the proportion of participants with conjunctival symptoms on days 3 to 6.
Of the 88 participants in the present trial, 30 received moxifloxacin eye drops, 27 received placebo eye drops, and 31 received no intervention. The time to clinical cure was significantly shorter in the children who received moxifloxacin eye drops compared with those in the no-intervention group (3.8 days vs 5.7 days; difference, –1.9 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], –3.7 to –0.1 days), but there was no difference between children who received moxifloxacin eye drops and those who received placebo drops (3.8 vs 4.0 days; difference, 0.2 days; 95% CI, –2.2 to 1.6 days). In the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, both moxifloxacin and placebo eye drops significantly shortened the time to cure compared with no intervention.
In the meta-analysis, which compared 300 children who received topical antibiotics to 284 who received placebo, topical antibiotics were associated with a 41% reduction in conjunctival symptoms on day 3 and day 6 (odds ratio [OR], 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.91).
"These findings suggest that topical antibiotic therapy should be considered for acute infective conjunctivitis in children because antibiotics were associated with significantly shorter recovery times," the investigators wrote. They add that the results of the present trial also suggest that lubricating eye drops may have some benefits for the management of acute infective conjunctivitis.
Oct 4 JAMA Netw Open study
WHO reports few flu hot spots for the first part of September
In an update that roughly covers the first half of September, flu activity continued to drop in the Southern Hemisphere except for South Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.
South Africa has seen a rise in influenza B activity, which involves the Victoria lineage, based on findings from subtyped samples. Flu activity was low in tropical Africa, with no detections in northern Africa.
Flu activity rose slightly in some Arabian Peninsula countries, and in Europe flu remained at interseasonal levels, though a few countries reported rising detections of the H3N2 strain. North America's flu activity also remained at inter-seasonal levels.
H3N2 is still the dominant strain. Of respiratory samples that were positive for flu in the early weeks of September, 88.5% were influenza A. And of the subtyped influenza A samples, 87% were H3N2.
Oct 3 WHO global flu update
Avian flu strikes more poultry in 5 states, including turkey farms
Five states reported more highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks in poultry, three of them with events at commercial farms, according to the latest updates from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Regarding outbreaks in commercial poultry, California reported an outbreak at a turkey farm in Stanislaus County that houses 51,000 birds. Similar outbreaks were reported in Pennsylvania's York County at a turkey farm that has 25,200 birds and in Wisconsin's Dunn County at a turkey farm with 79,600 birds.
More detections in backyard poultry were reported from North Dakota (Nelson County), California (Calaveras County), Colorado (Mesa County), and Pennsylvania (Lancaster County).
Since the Eurasian H5N1 strain was first detected in US poultry in February, outbreaks have led to the loss of 46.9 million birds in 40 states.
USDA APHIS poultry avian flu updates
In European developments, Germany reported a new H5N1 event that began on Sep 30 at a backyard location in North Rhine-Westphalia state that has laying hens, geese, broiler chickens, breeding ducks, and breeding turkeys. The virus killed 11 of 240 birds, according to a notice from the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).
Oct 3 WOAH notice on H5N1 in Germany
BARDA funds $1 billion for monoclonal antibody for flu, other threats
Vir Biotechnology, based in San Francisco, today announced that it has received a contract worth up to $1 billion from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop monoclonal antibodies against flu and other infectious disease threats.
The first part of a multiyear contract provides $55 million to speed the development of a monoclonal antibody to protect against seasonal and pandemic flu. A phase 2 clinical trial is slated to begin in the second half of 2022. In a statement, Vir Biotechnology said the rest of the award will cover up to 12 options to support the development of other preexposure prophylactic antibodies for preventing flu or other pathogens that have pandemic potential.
Rajesh Gupta, MD, MPH, the company's vice president, said the company developed sotrovimab in the fight against COVID-19 and is working on an Ebola countermeasure.
"We now look forward to applying our scientific and executional expertise to this BARDA collaboration focused on advancing innovative solutions to influenza, as well as other infectious diseases with future pandemic potential," he said.
Vir said its agreement with BARDA outlines support for the development of other future pandemic flu monoclonal antibodies, as well as for development of up to 10 emerging infectious disease or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasure candidates.
Oct 4 Vir Biotechnology statement