Top 5 Contagion® News Articles from January 2017

Catch up on last month's top infectious disease news coverage from Contagion®.

Although 2017 has only just started, a lot has happened in the world of infectious diseases. From the development of new vaccines, to killer antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, researchers are making advancements every day in the healthcare sector.

Read on to see the top most-read articles of January 2017:

#5 New Global Coalition Aims to Stop Future Epidemics with New Vaccines

On January 19, a new coalition aiming to drive vaccine innovation will launch at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Dubbed the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the new effort aims to fight the global problem of infectious diseases.

Vaccines are largely credited with the prevention of infectious disease outbreaks around the world in the 20th century. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes the development and mass administration of vaccines for largely eradicating polio, smallpox, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and other viruses in the United States. With vaccination, millions of lives are saved each year and the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that thanks to recent breakthroughs the world may soon have the vaccines to prevent more outbreaks of Ebola and the Zika virus.

To respond to infectious disease epidemics quickly, WHO officials developed the Research and Development Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, a worldwide effort to strengthen emergency response efforts to outbreaks and fast track new medical technologies and vaccines. In support of the global need for new vaccines, which are often needed swiftly to fight deadly disease epidemics, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of India, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum have partnered to create CEPI. The group points to the development of an Ebola vaccine, as proof that new vaccines can be created much faster than they have in the past with support from a global coalition.

Continue reading the full article here.

#4 Genital HSV Vaccine Provides Powerful Protection in Preclinical Trials

Around the world, about half a billion individuals are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the virus that most commonly causes genital herpes. With a number this staggering, researchers around the world have been channeling their efforts into the development of a safe and effective vaccine that will put an end to this global pandemic once and for all.

None of the past vaccine candidates have been successful, but a new trivalent vaccine coming from scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania may be the one that will change it all. In preclinical tests, the trivalent vaccine—which produces antibodies that fight three different parts of the virus—proved to provide “powerful protection” in preclinical trials, according to a recent press release.

According to senior investigator Harvey M. Friedman, MD, professor of Infectious Diseases at Penn, “It’s a novel strategy, and it works beautifully. I know of no other HSV2 vaccine candidate with published results that are as promising as this study.”

Continue reading the full article here.

#3 Five Emerging Diseases to Look Out for in 2017

As we all enter into a new year, resolutions are not the only things that we need to be mindful of, at least according to one lecturer at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. The lecturer, Derek Gatherer, PhD, has created a list of emerging diseases to be on the lookout for in 2017.

According to the World Health Organization, an emerging disease “is one that has appeared in a population for the first time, or that may have existed previously but is rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.” According to Dr. Gatherer, the term became most recognized back in the late 1970s and early 1980s as HIV/AIDS began sweeping the nation, a disease that had not yet been officially recognized, despite the fact that it had been spreading since the early 20th century.

However, it appears that more and more emerging diseases are making themselves known. Whether the increasing number can be explained by the fact that researchers have developed better detection methods, remains uncertain. According to Dr. Gatherer, there are other possible contributing factors such as “population pressure, climate change, [and] ecological degradation” that may altogether contribute to making these diseases more common; regardless of the reasons, they are here.

Read the full list of Emerging Diseases here.

#2 Bacteria That Killed Nevada Patient Resisted All Antimicrobial Drugs Currently Available

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that the death of a Nevada woman that occurred this past September was due to Klebsiella pneumoniae, a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that resisted a total of 26 different antimicrobial drugs — all that are currently available for use on this type of infection in the United States. Due to the patient’s recent return from India and previous hospitalization in that country, the Washoe County Health District acute care hospital placed her in a single room under “contact precautions,” meaning that healthcare workers were instructed to wear personal protective equipment while in the room with the patient and that the hospital took particular care with either sterilizing or disposing of medical instruments and devices as well as frequently cleaning and disinfecting the room itself. After the patient was hospitalized, the CDC tested an isolate collected from a wound specimen and confirmed that she had been infected by a pan-resistant bacterium, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamose (NDM).

The patient had recently returned to the United States after an extended visit to India, where she had been hospitalized repeatedly for a right femur fracture and subsequent complications related to that injury and its treatment. She had been hospitalized in India as recently as June 2016. When she was admitted to acute care in Reno, Nevada, in August 2016, she was given a primary diagnosis of systemic inflammatory response syndrome. She developed septic shock and died in early September 2016 after failing to respond to 26 different antibiotic regimens, including all aminoglycosides and polymyxins. The infection was “intermediately resistant to tigecycline,” the CDC noted. Although CDC testing indicated that the isolate had relatively low fosfomycin MIC of 16 μg/mL, the patient did not receive this treatment as it is only approved in oral form to treat uncomplicated cystitis in the United States. In other countries, it can be administered intravenously.

Continue reading the full article here.

#1 New Genital Herpes Drug Proves More Promising Than Existing Treatment in Clinical Trial

As what may be one of the most promising treatments for the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) in two decades, pritelivir, has demonstrated in a recent trial that it provides greater viral suppression than the present standard treatment, valacyclovir.

In the study, conducted by a research team led by Anna Wald, MD, medical director of virology research at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, patients who took pritelivir not only experienced less HSV shedding than those who took valacyclovir (2.4% vs. 5.3%), but they also had fewer lesions (1.9% vs. 3.9%), less pain, and fewer treatment-emergent adverse events (62% vs. 69%).

Pritelivir, which is still in the relatively early stages of development, is particularly attractive to patients with HSV-2 (otherwise known as genital herpes) because it not only limits their symptoms, but also appears to reduce the likelihood of passing the infection on to a susceptible partner. Of note: pritelivir did not completely eliminate viral shedding; practitioners and patients must remember that the protection is only partial. Given that many infected individuals often do not show signs of infection but still shed viral cells intermittently, “management of genital HSV should address the chronic nature of the disease rather than focusing solely on treatment of acute episodes of genital lesions,” a CDC spokesperson also noted. The spokesperson added that HSV-2 infections tend to have “much more frequent” recurrences and shedding.

Continue reading the full article here.