Pan Resistant Bacteria: How Scared Should We Be?

by Robert W. Buckheit III

January 18, 2017

As reported today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, public health officials in Nevada reported alarming news of an individual who died in September of a pan-resistant bacteria. The bacteria was determined to be resistant to all 14 antibiotics available at the admitting hospital, and the CDC has since verified that the bacteria was actually resistant to all 26 of the currently approved antibiotics in the United States. The bacteria was described as a carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and while uncommon, infection with CRE have previously been reported in the United States and around the world. Public health officials see this case study as a "call to arms" to the pharmaceutical industry of the critical need to develop both domestic and international programs to deal with “nightmare bacteria” before it's too late. As quoted by STAT News, Dr. James Johnson, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota summarized the looming public health emergency in alarming terms:

"People have asked me many times 'How scared should we be?'...'How close are we to the edge of the cliff?' And I tell them: We're already falling off the cliff," Johnson said. "It's happening. It's just happening -- so far -- on a relatively small scale and mostly far away from us. People that we don't see...so it doesn't have the same emotional impact.'"

ImQuest researchers were also present at a Keystone Symposium meeting on antibacterial resistance where it was noted that bacterial infections have been easily controlled since the first use of penicillin in the 1940s. However, prior to this important discovery, even minor infections from cuts on the skin could lead to life threatening infections: a foreboding reality that we may soon face once again after nearly 80 years. The threat of antibiotic resistance continues to grow, and more research and development is vital to combating the spread of these "superbugs". These bacteria are not hypothetical organisms, and they cannot be eliminated by currently approved therapies, and thus rapid action is required to ensure medical professionals have the tools they need to prevent infection by drug-resistant bacteria and save lives.

To respond to the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance and support the development efforts of academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, ImQuest BioSciences has developed the MicroSENS platform to enable rapid identification of novel antibiotics with robust efficacy profiles. Our targeted microbial panels allow cost-effective screening against a range of clinically-relevant gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, including the clinically important ESKAPE pathogens, which comprise most of the known hospital- and community-acquired bacterial infections of greatest threat. These compounds can rapidly be transitioned toward in vivo screening in both standard and customized animal models.

Contact us to learn more about our targeted ESKAPE pathogen panels and how ImQuest BioSciences can assist your anti-infectious product development. Are you an academic researcher with novel anti-infectious product? With a strong track record of success in obtaining federal funding, ask how ImQuest can help you secure funding through the NIH SBIR and STTR mechanisms.

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