Monday, March 06, 2006

Colorado Attacking IDSA Superbug List

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) recently released their ‘hit list’ of dangerous superbugs. IDSA’s Bad Bugs, No Drugs report showed a steady 20-year decline in the number of new FDA-approved antimicrobials and total withdrawal from the field by many major pharmaceutical companies. Happily I can report that I know of more than one company in Colorado working on more than one of the superbugs on the hit list, including the only fungi listed (aspergillus).

Here is the list:

Aspergillus: This fungal infection is a growing problem among immunocompromised patients such as cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and people with HIV, and the number of infections is expected to keep increasing as the number of immunocompromised patients increases. Existing drugs are toxic or interact with other drugs. Even with the best, newly approved antifungals, death rates from Aspergillus infection are 50-60 percent.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): MRSA infections constitute the majority of health care-associated infections, increasing lengths of hospital stay, severity of illness, deaths, and costs. Several treatment options are available for MRSA, but many have harsh side effects, and resistance is growing to each of them.
Escherichia coli and Klebsiella species: These bacteria are major causes of urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, and wound infections. They are becoming resistant to a growing number of antibiotic classes at the same time as the frequency of outbreaks is increasing. Failure to treat with the appropriate antibiotics during a recently documented K. pneumoniae outbreak increased the mortality rate from 14 percent to 64 percent.
Acinetobacter baumannii: A. baumannii "is a prime example of a mismatch between unmet medical need and the current antimicrobial research and development pipeline," according to the Clinical Infectious Diseases article. The bacterium is a growing cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia. Mortality rates range from 20 to 50 percent. Doctors have been forced to resort to an old drug, colistin, which had previously been abandoned as too toxic.
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE): VRE is a major cause of bloodstream infections, infections of the heart, meningitis, and intra-abdominal infections. A recent survey of 494 U.S. hospitals found a VRE rate of 10 percent across all patient groups. Rates are as high as 70 percent among high-risk groups.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Causes severe infection that can be life-threatening, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Rates of P. aeruginosa hospital-acquired pneumonia have nearly doubled, from 9.6 percent in 1975 to 18.1 percent in 2003. Infections following surgery and urinary tract infections from P. aeruginosa have doubled. The germ poses a particular threat to children with cystic fibrosis


Carlos N Velez said...

This is a hugely important issue you are raising. I have followed your lead and added some comments on my blog as well.

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