Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of December 3rd

Stay up-to-date on the latest infectious disease news by checking out our top 5 articles of the week.

#5: High Treatment Uptake is Possible for HCV Patients Coinfected with HIV

The current gold standard for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, which has proven to be safe and highly efficacious. However, DAA therapy is quite costly and this limitation has led to its use being restricted in many countries.

In the Netherlands, DAA regimens became available initially for patients with severe liver fibrosis as well as patients coinfected with HIV. In a study published by the Oxford University Press, lead co-investigators, Anne Boerekamps, PhD, and Astrid Newsum along with their colleagues examined HCV treatment uptake in HCV and HIV coinfected patients in the Netherlands.

The study utilized the AIDS Therapy Evaluation in the Netherlands (ATHENA) database which includes information on more than 98% of the HIV-positive patients in care in the Netherlands. There are 26 designated treatment centers in the Netherlands which provide care for HIV patients.

Read more about the study, here.

#4: NIAID’s Zika Vaccine Yields Positive Results in Human Studies

Research institutions around the world have been hard at work developing a vaccine for the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects and has been linked with Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. Now the results of 3 phase 1 clinical trials have shown that one candidate, an investigational Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine, was well-tolerated and induced an immune response in adult participants.

The Zika virus gained its notoriety in 2016 when a startling increase in infants born with microcephaly in Brazil was linked with infection with the virus. As time progressed, further effects were also linked with the virus, prompting an urgent call for a vaccine.

Read more about NIAID’s Zika vaccine, here.

#3: SHEA Releases New Guidance for Infectious Disease Outbreak Preparedness in Hospitals

Hospitals and other health care facilities play a critical role when it comes to responding to infectious disease outbreaks. In order to gain some semblance of control when the unexpected happens, preparedness is key.

To this end, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) garnered support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to draft up a new expert guidance document for hospitals to prepare and contain future infectious disease outbreaks. The guidance was published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, according to a recent press release.

Read more about the guidance, here.

#2: Treatments for Multidrug-Resistant Infections May Be Found in Other FDA-Approved Drugs

Multidrug-resistant pathogens represent a considerable health burden worldwide, leading to thousands of deaths each year. The widespread overuse of antibiotics has contributed to this issue which is compounded by the fact that discovery of novel antibiotics has slowed considerably in recent years. The traditional drug discovery process is not only costly, but also inefficient, and new approaches are needed to identify new antimicrobial compounds. An example of such an approach is to repurpose drugs that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in new ways.

To this end, a group of investigators led by principal investigator, Ashok Chopra, Csc, PhD, previously identified 3 FDA-approved drugs—doxapram, a breathing stimulant, amoxapine, an anti-depressant, and trifluoperazine, an anti-psychotic—that may be used in other ways.

Read more here.

#1: Are FMT Capsules the Next Big Thing for Recurrent C. difficile Treatment?

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections pose a serious threat to public health. With over 450,000 cases per year occurring within the United States alone and about 20% of those cases resulting in recurrent CDI (RCDI), researchers are rushing to come up with stronger treatment options.

Not only is CDI recurrence taxing for the patient, it also results in several hospital readmissions, which contribute significantly to excess financial burden. To make matters worse, it is estimated that of the 20% of patients who experience RCDI, 40% to 65% will experience additional recurrences on top of that.

Currently, there is no universally-accepted treatment algorithm for this population. However, investigators have come up with several ways to reduce the risk of RCDI. According to a recent editorial published in JAMA, these include:

  • Extended courses of vancomycin, probiotics, or fermented foods
  • Antibiotic “chasers,” which are short courses of fidaxomicin or rifaximin at the end of therapy after initial treatment is completed
  • Antitoxin monoclonal antibody therapy
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)

FMT involves extracting healthy bacteria from an uninfected individual’s fecal matter, processing it, and directly transferring that bacteria into the infected patient.

Read more about FMT here.

Feature Picture Source: Tayloright / flickr / Creative Commons.