Weekly digest: World TB Day, Oregon v. Pfizer over marketing of Zyvox, and the antimicrobial properties of honey

22 Mar 2012
Andrea Titus

A round-up of news on drug resistance and other topics in global health.

This Saturday is World TB Day. Reuters covers some concerning trends in the global spread of increasingly drug resistant tuberculosis, beginning with an anecdote about London, while Sarah Boseley of The Guardian recaps MDR-TB rates in Uzbekistan, South Africa, India, and Myanmar. At the same time, the TB Alliance announces clinical trials to test a promising new TB regimen, potentially simplifying and shortening treatment for drug resistant TB.

The New York Times discusses a recent CDC report, which identifies C. difficile as the leading cause of mortality associated with gastrointestinal infections, and norovirus as the second most common cause.  Patients are at greater risk of contracting C. difficile when seeking medical care and taking antibiotics.

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores a bacterial mechanism that disables microcin, a “Trojan horse” antibiotic that, when attached to a peptide, is disguised and taken into bacterial cells as food.

Research in the Medical Journal of Australia suggests that nursing homes could be breeding grounds for resistance.   Surveying four facilities, the study authors find that guidelines for antibiotic prescribing were followed for just over half of upper respiratory and urinary tract infection diagnoses.

The state of Oregon and Pfizer reach a USD 3.34 million settlement over accusations that Pfizer deceptively marketed the antibiotic Zyvox.  The state alleges that Pfizer falsely claimed that Zyvox was superior to a cheaper, generic alternative (vancomycin), and that these claims resulted in excess cost to the health care system and contributed to the rise of antibiotic resistance to a second-line treatment.

An Op-Ed in The Hindu describes the significance of India’s first-ever compulsory license for generic drug manufacturing.

Have a sinus infection? New guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommend skipping the antibiotics.  The guidelines will be published in the April 15 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in combination with the seasonal flu, proves deadly for a family in Maryland.

Scientific American’s Disease Prone blog offers a rundown of the antimicrobial properties of honey.

Could cockroaches be vectors for hospital infection pathogens?

New research out of Johns Hopkins suggests that “haphazard” hospital infection reporting gives patients little useful information about where to seek care, and consequently, few incentives for hospitals to improve infection control.

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Image credit: Flickr: Simon Hammond

Antibiotic Resistance