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Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of November 19, 2017

In case you missed them, we've compiled the top five infectious disease articles from this past week.

#5: Drug-Resistant Strains of Gonorrhea Spreads to North America

The incidence of drug-resistant gonorrhea infections has grown in the past several years; however, the majority of these infections have been reported outside of North America. Until now. According to a recent dispatch from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a drug-resistant strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae ) was found in Canada this year.

As Contagion® reported in July 2017, gonorrhea, a sexually-transmitted disease caused by N. gonorrhoeae bacteria, is on its way to becoming untreatable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (WHO GASP), an estimated 78 million individuals are infected with gonorrhea on an annual basis, and the number of cases that are resistant to currently available antibiotics continues to grow. Teodora Wi, MD, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction at WHO, explained in a news release, “The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them.”

Read more about antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea here.

#4: No Benefits for Protease Inhibitor Plus Raltegravir As Second Line HIV

A recent study showed that treatment with a protease inhibitor plus raltegravir offered no benefit over a protease inhibitor plus nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) regimen in patients with HIV.

James G. Hakim, MD, from the University of Zimbabwe Clinical Research Centre, Harare, and colleagues published the results of their study November 3, 2017, in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Read more here.

#3: Can Tooth Decay Explain the Pathogenesis of Certain Infectious Diseases

Infectious disease specialists looking for breakthrough findings have something to, well, sink their teeth into.

A review published October 30, 2017, in the journal Trends in Microbiology, highlights the importance of biofilms in improved understanding of the “local microenvironment where pathogens and commensals interact.” As the authors, from the Division of Community Oral Health at University of Pennsylvania Dental Medicine; the Center for Oral Biology at the University of Rochester (NY); and the Department of Oral Biology in the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida note, tooth decay (known clinically as “dental caries”) is arguably the most well-known example of a “polymicrobial biofilm disease,” as it is “driven by the diet” (namely sugar, which serves as a catalyst for emerging pathogens) and “microbiota-matrix interactions… on a solid surface.” Of course, polymicrobial diseases are infections that involve multiple agents; examples include respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, and conjunctivitis.

Read more about how tooth decay and infectious disease, here.

#2: HIV Suppression: Separating Fact From Fiction

If you’re confused about HIV and what viral suppression means, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently published a blog post entitled “10 Things to Know About HIV Suppression,” which offers a wealth of information for physicians and patients alike. Among the highlights:

*Viral suppression means the disease is undetectable thanks to ever more advanced antiretroviral (ART) drug treatment. Although HIV doesn’t disappear from the body, the levels of the virus fall so low that blood tests cannot detect them.

*It doesn’t take long to achieve viral suppression. Within 1 to 6 months of beginning treatment, a patient’s viral load will drop below detectable levels, according to the blog. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the NIAID, asserted that this time frame is fairly conservative; with new medication, people can achieve viral suppression very rapidly.

Read more highlights here.

#1: FDA Approves Juluca, First Two-Drug HIV Regimen

Big news has been announced in the realm of HIV, a virus that remains a major global public health issue. Today, the US Food and Drug Administration has OK’ed Juluca—the first complete treatment regimen that contains only two drugs to treat individuals infected with HIV-1, compared with the standard HIV treatment that consists of three or more drugs.

Juluca, a fixed-dose tablet, is comprised of two previously approved drugs: dolutegravir and rilpivirine. It’s approved to treat adults with HIV-1 infections whose virus is currently suppressed on a stable regimen for at least 6 months, who have no history of treatment failure and no known substitutions associated with resistance to the individual components of the drug.

“Limiting the number of drugs in any HIV treatment regimen can help reduce toxicity for patients,” Debra Birnkrant, MD, director, Division of Antiviral Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug and Evaluation, said in a statement.

The safety and efficacy of Juluca were evaluated in two clinical trials consisting of 1,024 participants who achieved viral suppression via their current anti-HIV medications.

Read more about Juluca here.