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Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of September 17, 2017

In case you missed them, we've compiled the top 5 articles from this past week.

#5: New Treatment for CABP Continues to Show Positive Outcomes in Clinical Trials

The leading cause of infectious disease death in the United States is community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP), with more than 5 million adults being treated for the disease each year. The infection is the second highest cause of hospital admissions through the emergency room and because the infection can be severe and potentially life-threatening, many patients end up being readmitted for further treatment. The estimated hospitalization costs to treat the infection are $17 billion. Thus, research and development aimed at a treatment for the infection are booming, and one such company has made an important step forward to bringing a treatment to market.

The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Nabriva Therapeutics, just released positive top-line global Phase 3 trial data on their intravenous (IV) and oral forms of a pleuromutilin antibiotic, lefamulin, for the treatment of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) today. The drug met all primary US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) endpoints. In this exclusive interview, with Contagion®, Thomas File, MD, MSc, Chair of Infectious Disease Division, Summa Health in Akron, Ohio, explains what pleuromutilin antibiotics are and how they work.

Read more about the new CABP treatment, here.

#4: US Government Launches Aggressive New Strategy to Accelerate HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control

Today, September 19, 2017, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, revealed the new the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020). This new plan comes on the heels of new Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIA) data from the PEPFAR which shows that 5 African countries are on the brink of fully controlling the HIV epidemics in their countries. Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are the first 4 countries, and now, new data reveals that Lesotho can be added to the list.

In Lesotho, the newest country added to the list, over 67% of all HIV-positive adults ages 15-59 have been able to achieve viral load suppression, according to the latest PHIA results. These data suggest that the country is well on its way to hit the 90-90-90 targets set forth by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) by 2020. PHIA data from 7 additional countries are still being collected and is set to be revealed on a rolling basis through 2017 to 2019.

Read more about the strategy, here.

#3: How China's AMR Outbreak Revealed the Changing Landscape of Infection Control

Infection prevention in healthcare can often feel like a mixed bag of reminding people to do things they already know (ie, hand hygiene, isolation, etc.), and the sheer awe at the unique weirdness that comes with patient care. There is rarely a week that goes by where I fail to mutter “well, you don’t see that every day.” A multitude of challenges exists within patient care and medicine, whether it is antimicrobial stewardship, disinfection, the use of personal protective equipment, or environmental cleaning. And, in the past few years, highly resistant organisms and high consequence pathogens, such as Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), have gotten thrown into the mix as well.

A focus on much of this information was heightened recently, with the news of a highly resistant and hypervirulent strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) wreaking havoc in a Chinese hospital. This particular strain impacted 5 ventilator-dependent patients, all of whom subsequently died. The strain had genes that made it both hypervirulent and highly resistant to antibiotics. All five patients were receiving treatment in the ICU and experienced severe pneumonia as a result of ventilation, which led to the K. pneumoniae infection. A study on the bacteria, published in The Lancet, noted that this highly resistant strain poses a substantial threat, not only because of its resistance and virulence, but also its increased transmissibility.

Read more about the outbreak, here.

#2: Zika Virus News Update: Three New Things You Should Know

Every day, researchers from around the globe are making advancements when it comes to better understanding Zika, a virus that poses a great threat to pregnant mothers and their unborn children. In this update, we’ve compiled some of the latest news associated with the mosquito-borne virus that has been revealed this past week.

#1: Zika Transmission Depends on Time Spent Outdoors

A recent study conducted by researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Miami explored the link between Zika transmission and how much time individuals spend outdoors. The researchers surveyed 270 individuals who reside in Miami-Dade, Florida, an area that has been heavily hit with Zika virus in the past. Using a computational model to evaluate “how Zika transmission dynamics related to time spent outdoors,” the researchers found that time residents spent outside were “highly variable,” according to the recent PLOS press release. The majority of the individuals surveyed reported spending <2 hours a day outside. However, that was not the case for everyone; there was a small percentage of individuals who reported spending as long as 10 hours outside per day.

To read the rest of the list, go here.

#1: Dozens of Viruses Can Be Detected in Human Semen

Since researchers found that the Zika virus was present in semen and can be passed through sex, health officials have warned of sexual transmission of the virus. Now in a recently published paper, researchers found evidence that more than two dozen additional viruses can be found in human semen, though many questions remain on how this may impact public health.

In 2015, a study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), detailed preliminary findings from an outbreak in French Polynesia on the presence of Zika virus in semen, suggesting that the flavivirus could be sexually transmitted. Although the Zika virus has primarily been thought of as a mosquito-borne disease spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, health officials investigated other transmission pathways of the virus in the wake of the Zika virus outbreak in South America and the subsequent rise in the number of infants born with microcephaly.

In 2016, prompted by a case of sexual transmission of the virus reported in Texas, the CDC released findings confirming that Zika can be transmitted from a male to his partner via semen. That year, the United States saw 46 cases of sexually transmitted Zika virus, and researchers have continued to investigate how long the virus can remain in semen and vaginal fluids. Zika virus RNA is typically undetectable in most men by about 3 months after infection but has been found in semen for up to 188 days following the start of illness.

In a new study, recently published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a pair of researchers investigating the persistence of viruses in seminal fluids conducted a review of 3818 articles found in a PubMed search. Noting that Zika virus RNA is often found in semen following infection, the authors acknowledged gaps in knowledge on the presence of other viruses in genital fluids. It is likely, they wrote, that many other viruses capable of causing viremia can be detected in semen. In addition, they noted that because the testes have a limited immune response to allow for the survival of sperm, viruses may remain present in the male reproductive tract even if they can’t replicate.

Read more, here.