BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

February 5, 2018

Research Roundup: Understanding the severity of antimicrobial resistance and a request to review a sleeping sickness medicine

Taylor Capizola
Program Assistant
GHTC
PATH/Eric Becker

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In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

High levels of antibiotic resistance are present in both high- and low-income countries, according to surveillance data from the new World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS), which tracked suspected bacterial infections among 22 countries. Across different nations, GLASS found that patients with resistance to at least one of the common antibiotics for blood infections ranged from 0–82 percent. Patients with resistance to penicillin—the most common antibiotic used to treat pneumonia—ranged from 0–51 percent and patients with resistance to ciprofloxacin—a common antibiotic used to treat E. coli associated with urinary tract infections—ranged from 8–65 percent. This data suggests antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not only a threat to low-resource communities around the world, but also to highly developed areas. WHO hopes the survey will provide a more complete picture of AMR patterns and trends so individual nations and the global community develop and monitor interventions to combat this growing problem.

Wellcome Trust has set up a new information-sharing effort—the Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug-Resistant Infections Consortium (SEDRIC)—designed to help countries track, analyze, and share information about antimicrobial resistance (AMR). SEDRIC will connect experts from around the world to identify gaps in AMR surveillance, improve coordination, and help nations strengthen their data collection capacity. It will also look at ways technology can improve understanding of how pathogens before resistant and how infections spread. The effort will build on the work of the World Health Organization’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System by helping countries builder strong surveillance networks.

Pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur has asked the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to review an experimental sleeping sickness medicine developed in partnership with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative. The medicine is a clinically studied, ten-day oral treatment to combat sleeping sickness, a fatal disease endemic to Africa. EMA accepted the request to review under Article 58 and will eventually provide a scientific opinion in cooperation with WHO. This approval is a critical step toward registering the medicine for future use in endemic areas of Africa.

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