• BiosecurityFragile supply chain causing antibiotic shortages, resistance threat

    A white paper released yesterday argues that a fragile global supply chain that’s dependent on a small number of antibiotics manufacturers, along with a financially unstable economic model, are responsible for shortages of antibiotics on a global and national level. Because of these shortages, some patients in need of antibiotics are being treated with lower-quality medications that don’t cure their infections and increase the risk of resistance.

  • BiothreatsWinners announced in $300K biothreat prize competition

    DHS S&T the other day announced the grand prize winner of its $300,000 Hidden Signals Challenge. The prize competition called for the design of an early warning system to keep communities safe by using existing data sources to uncover emerging biothreats.

  • PandemicsLittle-known virus could become the next global pandemic

    A little-known virus discovered twenty years ago could become the next global pandemic. A recent outbreak of Nipah in South India has renewed interest in the virus, which has a mortality rate of up to 70 percent and has no vaccine or cure. “Emerging infections have resulted in the most devastating infectious diseases that humanity has ever faced. These include HIV, tuberculosis, measles and smallpox. History has taught us that emerging infections can be major threats,” says Stanford University epidemiologist and Nipah expert Stephen Luby.

  • BiosecurityGrowing concerns about DIY gene editing

    There is a growing concerns regarding the rising popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) gene editing. From the horsepox de novo synthesis to public stunts at conventions where biohackers injected themselves with HIV treatment, it is becoming difficult to ignore why these actions are dangerous.

  • BiosecurityBiosecurity: Do synthetic biologists need a license to operate?

    By Kostas Vavitsas

    Advances in gene editing technology and the drop in costs make it possible for individuals to perform more sophisticated molecular biology experiments in private spaces. This hobby attracts a variety of people and has been hailed as a way to democratize genetic engineering. A few recent stunts raise concerns about what are the hazards of individuals with gene-editing capabilities.

  • EbolaWHO: Response to Congo Ebola outbreak so far working

    An Ebola outbreak has gripped parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization there have been 45 reported cases, 14 of which have been confirmed as Ebola. Of these 45 cases, 25 have resulted in fatalities. Most concerning, the outbreak has spread from a rural precinct to the city of Mbandaka which has a population of 1.2 million and sits on the Congo river, a major thoroughfare.

  • SuperbugsA quarter of migrants to Europe infected with drug-resistant bacteria

    A new review of research on migrant populations in Europe has found that more than a quarter are infected or colonized with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, with evidence suggesting that the pathogens are being acquired along the migration route or in host countries. The findings come amid a recent wave of immigration that has brought more than two million migrants to Europe since 2015, an influx that’s been driven in part by conflicts and instability in the Middle East and Africa.

  • SuperbugSuperbugs: are we returning to an era where bacteria are a major killer without a cure?

    By Anthony McDonnell

    Every time bacteria come into contact with antibiotics there is the possibility that through a process of natural selection, they may evolve to evade the drugs, creating what is referred to as “superbugs.” These superbugs can often not be killed by antibiotics. In the early years of antibiotic development researchers were able to come up with enough new antibiotics to replace the ones that we had lost to resistance, but this is no longer the case.

  • SuperbugsLow-levels of antibiotics can produce high-levels of resistance

    A new study indicates that bacteria exposed to small concentrations of antibiotics over time can become highly resistant, a finding that provides an example of how low levels of antibiotics present in many environments may potentially contribute to antibiotic resistance.

  • SuperbugsA new class of antibiotics to fight drug resistance

    According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistant is one of the biggest threats to global health today and a significant contributor to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality. An international research team has reported the discovery of a new class of antibiotics.

  • SuperbugsCDC measures have limited spread of “nightmare” bacteria

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday (3 April) that public health laboratories identified more than 220 samples of “nightmare” bacteria containing unusual resistance genes in 2017, a finding that officials say illustrates the importance of the agency’s efforts to identify emerging drug-resistant pathogens quickly and contain them before they can spread.

  • SuperbugsA synthesized antibiotic is capable of treating superbugs

    A “game changing” new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesized and used to treat an infection for the first time—and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in thirty years. The breakthrough is another major step forward on the journey to develop a commercially viable drug version based on teixobactin—a natural antibiotic discovered by U.S. scientists in soil samples in 2015 which has been heralded as a “gamechanger” in the battle against antibiotic resistant pathogens such as MRSA and VRE.

  • SuperbugsToo many hospitalized kids receive preventive antibiotics

    A large new international study indicates that nearly a third of hospitalized children are receiving antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections rather than to treat them, and in many cases are receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics or combinations of antibiotics. This high rate of prophylactic prescribing in pediatric patients and frequent use of broad-spectrum agents suggests a clear overuse of antibiotics in this population and underscores the need for pediatric-specific antibiotic stewardship programs.

  • Super bugsAntibiotic-resistant infections cost $2 billion a year

    Antibiotic resistance adds nearly $1,400 to the bill for treating a bacterial infection and costs the nation more than $2 billion annually, according to a new study. The study, which is the first national estimate of the incremental costs for treating antibiotic-resistant infections, also found that the share of bacterial infections in the United States that were antibiotic resistant more than doubled over thirteen years, rising from 5.2 percent in 2002 to 11 percent in 2014.

  • SuperbugsLow level of worrisome resistant bacterium in U.S.

    A new multistate surveillance study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that the incidence of a multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogen capable of causing severe infections and spreading easily is low and mainly confined to healthcare facilities. And CDC officials would like to keep it that way. a team of researchers from the CDC and public health departments across the country report that the overall annual incidence of carbapenem-nonsusceptible Acinetobacter baumannii is 1.2 cases per 100,000 persons, and that nearly all the cases were healthcare-associated.