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Weekly Digest: The role of climate change in the spread of C. auris; Experts urge the development of universal flu vaccine; Drug-resistant malaria spreads through southeast Asia.

Weekly Digest: The role of  climate change in the spread of C. auris; Experts urge the development of universal flu vaccine; Drug-resistant malaria spreads through southeast Asia.

The role of  climate change in the emergence of C. auris. Researchers from the US and the Netherlands examined the role of climate change in the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant fungus, Candida auris. They compared the thermal susceptibility of C. auris to that of closely related fungi, and found that C. auris has adapted to survive at higher temperatures, allowing it to better survive in humans. While global warming may have had a part to play in the spread of the fungus, other factors have also contributed to its emergence. [mBio]

Experts urge the development of a universal flu vaccine. The Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group has released a report highlighting the urgent need for the development of a universal influenza vaccine (UIV). The researchers, philanthropists, governments, and public health professionals who authored the report developed 3 “Big Ideas” or recommendations for vaccine development which include: creating a single-mission entity to accelerate the development of the UIV, implementing a research innovation agenda, and coordinating a communication strategy to highlight the necessity of a UIV especially in the case of a future flu pandemic. [The Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group]

Drug-resistant malaria spreads throughout southeast Asia. Using whole genome sequencing, researchers analyzed the spread of a drug-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum malaria (KEL1/PLA1) in southeast Asia. Prior to 2009, the KEL1/PLA1 strain had only been detected in western Cambodia, however, the strain was detected in more than 80 percent of recent samples from northeast Thailand and Vietnam. Some subgroups of the strain have acquired new mutations to the crt gene, which suggests the rapid evolution of genetic features, as well as improved fitness of the drug-resistant strain. [The Lancet Infectious Diseases]

Antibiotics found in milk samples causes milk sales to decrease in Bangladesh. A study that found the presence of antibiotics and heavy metals in 11 milk brands in Bangladesh spurred the fear that mass consumption of these antibiotics through dairy may contribute to the spread of drug-resistant superbugs. Researchers also found cadmium and lead in the milk. As a result of this study, milk sales in Bangladesh have dropped by an estimated 45 percent. In response, some have called for the government to collect samples from the dairy companies and have them tested so appropriate action can be taken to address the issue. [The Telegraph]

Non-prescription antibiotic use in the US. In the United States, between 2000 and 2019, researchers found that between 1 to 66 percent of people used nonprescription antibiotics and 22 to 48 percent stored antibiotics for future use. In addition, 25 percent had the intention of using non-prescription antibiotics. The non-prescription antibiotics came from various sources such as local markets, family, and friends. Reasons for non-prescription antibiotic use included difficulty utilizing the health care system and limited access to physicians. [Annals of Internal Medicine]

Antibiotic-resistant gene, MCR-1, detected in Uruguay for the first time. The highly drug-resistant MCR-1 gene was detected in three Escherichia coli isolates in Uruguay for the first time. All three isolates were resistant to last-resort antibiotic, colistin, and two of the isolates showed resistance to oxyimino cephalosporins. [Journal of Global AMR]

First MERS vaccine shown to be safe and effective in phase 1 trial. A team of scientists conducted a phase 1 trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the first Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) vaccine (GLS-5300). Overall, no associated serious adverse events were reported, and the vaccine provided an immune response in over 85 percent of subjects following two vaccinations. Following three vaccinations, seroconversion and t-cell responses were detected in 94 and 76 percent of subjects, respectively. [The Lancet Infectious Diseases]

New antibiotic in development to treat MDR infections. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with the Department of Defense (DoD) and VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals have announced their plan to develop an antibiotic combination that will target resistant infections. VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals will combine the antibiotic cefepime with the compound VNRX-5133 with the intention to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative infections. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has offered $20.7 million over the course of 2 years to support the development of this novel drug. [US HHS]

C. diff infections linked to increased cost and length of hospital stayResearchers in Canada conducted a population-based cohort study to measure the impact of hospital-acquired Clostridioides difficile infection on cost and length of hospital stay in Alberta, Canada. The study found that C. diff infections attributed to a mean cost of $14,190 (2018 USD), and an additional 5.6 days spent in hospital. The total cost for patients with C. diff infections was 27 percent greater than those without the infection, and length of hospital stay was 13 percent longer. [SHEA Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology]

WHO tobacco report highlights global progress. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report last month highlighting the progress that has been made in the global tobacco epidemic. Findings indicated that since 2007, there has been an increase of 2 billion people living in countries that offer smoking cessation services, and tobacco use has declined in most countries in proportion with population growth. However, tobacco continues to disproportionately impact poor areas, with 80 percent of smokers residing in low- and middle-income countries. [WHO]

CDDEP Awards in Antimicrobial Resistance. CDDEP Awards in Antimicrobial Resistance will sponsor two individuals for the best-accepted abstracts addressing AMR in low- or middle-income countries for the 19th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (ICID). The awards consist of reimbursement of travel, accommodation, and registration expenses for the 19th ICID in Kuala Lumpur, February 20-23, 2020. Submit your abstract addressing AMR in LMICs by Oct. 25, 2019. [ICID]

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