01.19.2021 | Phage therapy is gaining ground as a potential solution to antibiotic resistance but regulatory challenges may be its biggest hurdle
BBC | Phages or bacteriophages are viruses that naturally prey on bacteria by infecting and replicating within them until they burst out, killing their microbial host. There are billions of phages on Earth, and they have co-evolved with the bacteria they prey on for millennia, helping to keep their numbers in check. Their therapeutic use was first pioneered in 1919 by Felix d’Herelle, a French-Canadian microbiologist who used phages to cure a boy suffering from severe dysentery. However, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 and its subsequent commercial production by the 1940s unleashed the antibiotic era, effectively supplanting phage therapy. Phage is attracting attention again in the search for better ways to address drug-resistant bacteria. But there remain plenty of challenges, including regulatory obstacles that need to be addressed.
01.19.2021 | A new state of the art institute for antimicrobial research is to open at Oxford University thanks to a £100 million donation from Ineos
OXFORD UNIVERSITY | Ineos, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, and the University of Oxford are launching a new world-leading institute to combat the growing global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which currently causes an estimated 1.5 million excess deaths each year- and could cause over 10m deaths per year by 2050. Predicted to also create a global economic toll of $100 trillion by mid-century, it is arguably the greatest economic and healthcare challenge facing the world post-Covid. The new Ineos Oxford Institute will benefit from the internationally outstanding facilities and expertise of Oxford University, which played the key role in the origin of antibiotics following Fleming and Oxford’s discovery and development of penicillin in the last century. The IOI will create collaborative and cross-disciplinary links across the sciences, and will be based between two sites in Oxford, linking the University’s Department of Chemistry with the Department of Zoology in the new Life & Mind Building, which is currently under construction.
01.06.2021 | Spurring antibiotics research, US lawmakers fear looming public health crisis: drug-resistant ‘superbugs’
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | While the world grapples with the spread of COVID-19, health experts fear a much more destructive public health crisis stemming from drug-resistant infections invading communities without the weapons to fight them. The overuse of antibiotics is just one part of the problem. US legislation introduced in December 2020 by US Rep. Mike Doyle takes aim at the source: a lack of incentive for drug companies to invest in the research and development of novel antibiotics, which has led to a dearth of new drugs in the pipeline. The bill, called the PASTEUR Act, aims to encourage drug-makers by restructuring federal contracts to provide an upfront payment, instead of paying companies based on volume of drugs they produce. The proposed change in federal contracts follows a separate bill introduced last year by US Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., that increases reimbursements paid by hospitals for antibiotics. In addition to changing the federal payment model, the PASTEUR Act, introduced with Rep. Drew Ferguson, would provide funds to hospitals to support antibiotic stewardship programs. Hospitals would also be encouraged to report more data on antibiotic use and resistance to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network.