- As of May 12, a total of 122 people in the U.S. have been identified with the emerging multidrug-resistant fungus Candida auris, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director recently called a "catastrophic threat." the CDC said.
- With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, nontraditional as well as traditional approaches are needed to prevent and treat infections, a new Pew Charitable Trusts report says.
- Meanwhile, Iterum Therapeutics raised $65 million in a Series B funding round to develop an oral and intravenous antibiotic to combat superbug-causing gram-negative bacteria, Modern Healthcare reports. The money will go toward a Phase 3 trial of sulopenem in urinary tract infections, targeted to begin early next year.
The CDC has warned about increases in C. auris and the complications that can arise. It is often misidentified and can spread easily and quickly — a bad combination for hospitals. The infections are treatable but can be fatal if not caught early enough, according to the agency.
In February, the World Health Organization issued its first-ever list of superbugs for which new antibiotics are critically needed. The WHO is hoping to spur governments to adopt policies that incentivize R&D that results in new antibiotics.
The recent cases of C. auris have occurred in seven states: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. Of the 122, 77 were clinical cases revealed through cultures during routine patient care and 45 were people who had been in close contact with them.
The median age of the patients was 70 years, and most of them had multiple underlying medical conditions and extensive exposure to healthcare facilities, according to the report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Thirty-five of the clinical isolates were tested for antifungal susceptibility, and of those, 30 were resistant to fluconazole, 15 were resistant to amphotericin B and one was resistant echinocandins.
The analysis also suggested multiple international sources for C. auris. For example, while all of the strains were highly related, New York isolates largely resembled isolates from South Asia, while those in Illinois were similar to ones found in South America.
The Pew report identified 32 nontraditional products in the U.S. antibiotics pipeline, including three in Phase 3 trials and one recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Of the 32 products, more than a third are vaccines, nearly a third are antibiotics and the remainder are lysins, probiotics or peptide immunomodulators.