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News Scan for Apr 19, 2021

News Scan for Apr 19, 2021

CARB-X to fund development of bacteriophage-based drug

CARB-X announced today that it is awarding Phico Therapeutics of Cambridge, United Kingdom, up to $5.3 million to develop an intravenous bacteriophage drug to treat ventilator-associated pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The award will support development of Phico’s SASPject PT 3.9 project, which combines engineered bacteriophages with antibacterial small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASPs) to target and inactivate P aeruginosa bacteria. Phico says SASPs are unaffected by the sequence of bacterial DNA, which makes it unlikely that bacteria could develop resistance.

The project will be eligible for an additional $12.86 million in funding from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) if the project progresses successfully to phase 1 clinical trials.

“This approach has the potential to target the bacteria without damaging other cells or contributing to the rise of resistance,” CARB-X Research and Development Chief Erin Duffy, PhD, said in a CARB-X press release. “If successful, this new intravenous drug could transform the way patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia are treated in hospitals, and save lives.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were 32,600 multidrug-resistant P aeruginosa infections and 2,700 deaths in US hospitals in 2017.
Apr 19 CARB-X press release


Review finds increased MRSA risk from dog ownership

A review and meta-analysis of previously published studies has identified dog ownership as a risk factor for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization, German researchers reported last week in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

To get a better understanding of the risk for multidrug-resistant organism (MDROs) colonization posed by pet ownership, the researchers conducted three separate reviews and meta-analyses of literature on pet ownership and MRSA, third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (3GCRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). The primary outcome was the relative risk of carrying an MDRO in humans with pet contact (including dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and reptiles) compared with those without pet contact.

The researchers calculated an increased risk of MRSA carriage for dog owners, with a risk ratio (RR) of 2.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 3.56), but not for other pet owners. The meta-analysis for 3GCRE/CRE did not show a significantly higher risk for colonization among pet owners compared with non-pet owners, with an RR of 1.18 (95% CI, 0.83 to 1.68) for pet owners in general. For VRE, there were insufficient data to perform a meta-analysis.

The study authors say the MRSA risk among dog owners is higher than found in literature reviews and, because of limitations concerning study populations and study designs, may be an overestimate. The data suggest that transmission occurs primarily from humans to dogs, who then may serve as a reservoir for reinfection and transmission to other household members. In addition, dogs may be a vector for livestock-associated strains of MRSA.

“If indeed pets play a role as a risk factor for MDRO acquisition in humans, our meta-analyses only suggested this relation for the transmission of MRSA via dogs,” they wrote.
Apr 17 J Antimicrob Chemother abstract

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