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New class of antibiotics discovered

WASHINGTON: In a breakthrough, scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight deadly bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other drug-resistant bacteria that threaten public health.

The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered by University of Notre Dame researchers led by Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.

Researchers who screened 1.2 million compounds found that the oxadiazole inhibits a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that enables MRSA to resist other drugs.

The oxadiazoles are also effective when taken orally. This is an important feature as there is only one marketed antibiotic for MRSA that can be taken orally, researchers said.

MRSA has become a global public-health problem since the 1960s because of its resistance to antibiotics.

In the US alone, 278,000 people are hospitalised and 19,000 die each year from infections caused by MRSA, said researchers.

Only three drugs currently are effective treatments, and resistance to each of those drugs already exists.

The researchers have been seeking a solution to MRSA for years.

“Professor Mobashery has been working on the mechanisms of resistance in MRSA for a very long time,” Chang said.

“As we understand what the mechanisms are, we can devise strategies to develop compounds against MRSA,” said Chang.

“Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery’s discovery of a class of compounds that combat drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives around the world. We are grateful for their leadership and persistence in fighting drug resistance,” said Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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261 swine flu deaths in India in 2013

Swine flu has killed 261 people in India this year, with most deaths reported from Rajasthan, the health ministry said Thursday.

A total of 2,329 people tested positive for the Influenza A ( H1N1) virus, which causes swine flu, in 35 states and union territories.

The highest number of cases (834) were reported from Delhi till Tuesday, followed by Rajasthan (564) and Haryana (305).

Rajasthan reported the highest number of deaths at 107, followed by 51 in Gujarat, 36 in Haryana and 32 in Punjab, the ministry said.

The ministry gave a break up of swine flu cases in the country in the past four years. The highest number was reported in 2009 (27,236), followed by 2010 (20,604) and 2012 (5,054 cases).

The highest number of swine flu deaths took place in 2011 (1,763), followed by 2009 (981) and 2012 (405).

Drug-resistant fungi new hospital menace

NEW DELHI: After the superbug, it might soon be the ‘superfungi’. The organisms, known to be opportunistic pathogens causing infection in critically-ill patients, are fast turning drug-resistant.

A study by microbiologists at Ganga Ram Hospital has revealed that several new species of fungi have become difficult to treat even with most potent antifungal medicine, such as amphotericin B. One particular species — C.haemulonii — has also proved untreatable in some cases, called clinical failure in medical terminology, say microbiologists.

“There are few antifungal medicines available. If the fungi species continue to develop resistance against all available drugs, we might have no option for treatment in the future,” said Dr Chand Wattal, the lead author of the study and chairman of the department of microbiology at Ganga Ram Hospital.

The study, based on a retrospective analysis of all instances of infection caused by fungi in patients admitted at the hospital between 1999 and 2008, has been published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR).

It says, “Emergence of amphotericin B resistant C.haemulonii is a matter of concern. This species was first isolated at our hospital in 2006 and its isolation increased significantly so that it became the third most common species in from 2006-2008.”

According to Wattal, C.haemulonii was previously known to cause an epidemic disease afflicting laboratory animals and nail infection (onychomycosis) in humans but is now a menace in hospitals. “Reduced susceptibility to antifungal medicines has been observed in other species of fungi too, including C.glabrata and C.parapsilosis,” he said. The study reported a five-fold increase in the incidence of fungal infection.

Experts say the spurt is due to misuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics, more extensive surgical procedures and use of support on transplant patients. “The powerful third generation antibiotics destroy the bacteria which grow on the dead or diseased tissues. This gives the fungi, present in the environment and the gastrointestinal tract, a chance to proliferate. They turn pathogenic, leading to infection and even death,” said a microbiologist at Safdarjung Hospital. The hospital, which runs the country’s largest dedicated burns facility, recently published a study which showed that 12 out of 100 patients admitted with burn injuries suffered from fungal infection. The mortality rate among the infected patients was recorded to be as high as 66.7%. Among those at high risk of such infections were children and the elderly, diabetics, HIV patients and critically-ill patients who require long hospital stay.

“Judicious use of antibiotics and antifungal is the need of the hour,” said Wattal.

Cezobact-S Injections: Evolved to cease tough bacterial infections

Cezobact-S Injections

Evolved to Cease Tough Bacterial Infections

Temperature brings down dengue cases

Dengue Mosquito

Dengue Mosquito

NEW DELHI: With the fall in temperature, dengue cases are finally going down. On Monday, the city reported 27 new cases taking the total number of such cases to 1,980, out of which 17 originated from other states. Municipal officials said that for the past one month the number of cases being reported daily ranged from 33 to 39.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation has reported the maximum of 773 cases, while 631 cases have been detected from North Delhi Municipal Corporation area and 499 from East Delhi Municipal Corporation region this season. Other cases were reported from NDMC and Delhi cantonment areas. Four deaths have also taken place due to dengue including three children and a pregnant woman.

Last year, 976 cases were reported and five deaths took place while in 2010, a total of 5,994 dengue cases and eight deaths were recorded in the capital.

- TNN | Nov 27, 2012, 01.39 AM IST ( Times of India)

Vitamin D may help treat tuberculosis : Astrocal Update

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

Vitamin D, a vitamin synthesized by the body when exposed to sunlight, can help the body fight infections of deadly tuberculosis, researchers say.

According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, patients who were given vitamin D in combination with antibiotics recovered from tuberculosis (TB) more quickly than those who just took antibiotics, the BBC reported.

More tests would be needed before it could be given to patients routinely.

Vitamin D was used to treat the lung infection long before antibiotics were discovered, with patients being prescribed “forced sunbathing”, known as heliotherapy.

However, the treatment disappeared when antibiotics proved successful at treating the disease.

Tuberculosis kills close to 1.5 million people each year, and many strains of tuberculosis are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics – rendering it untreatable.

Researchers from Queen Mary University in London looked at 95 patients who had non-resistant TB.

Those who took the combination of antibiotics and vitamin D recovered two weeks faster than those who did not take vitamin D.

According to BBC News, patients who only took antibiotics took an average of 36 days to recover while patients who took both vitamin D and antibiotics recovered in just 23 days on average.

“This isn’t going to replace antibiotics, but it may be a useful extra weapon,” Dr. Adrian Martineau, one of the researchers from Queen Mary University, told BBC News.

“It looks promising, but we need slightly stronger evidence,” Martineau added.

Vitamin D appears to work by calming inflammation during the infection. An inflammatory response is an important part of the body’s response to infection.

During TB infection, it breaks down some of the scaffolding in the lungs letting more infection-fighting white blood cells in. However, this also creates tiny cavities in the lungs in which TB bacteria can camp out.

“If we can help these cavities to heal more quickly, then patients should be infectious for a shorter period of time, and they may also suffer less lung damage,” Dr Martineau said.

The doctors suggested this might also help in other lung diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis

– ANI | Sep 20, 2012, 12.00 AM IST

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