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Weekly Digest: GARP analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe; Nanoparticles can fight drug resistance

Weekly Digest: GARP analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe; Nanoparticles can fight drug resistance

Weekly Digest: GARP analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe; Nanoparticles can fight drug resistance

New Report: Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe. The report issued by GARP’s National Working Group in Zimbabwe surveys the current state of antibiotic use and resistance and offers actionable policy solutions to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance in the country. [GARP situation analysis in Zimbabwe]

Investing in Global Health. A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, recommends continued global health investments in global health security, communicable disease threats including antimicrobial resistance, women and children’s health, and cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. Development of medical products and implementation of evidence-based interventions have also been identified as global priorities. [The New England Journal of Medicine]

Study: Longer breastfeeding duration connected with educational outcomes in boys in India. A study in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin by CDDEP researchers on the link between the duration of breastfeeding in babies and educational outcomes in adolescents in India has found a positive association in boys but not in girls. The researchers add that the findings were consistent with the results in previous similar studies but further research may be required. [Food and Nutrition Bulletin]

Nanoparticles to fight drug resistance? A study in Science Advances finds that quantum dots or nanoparticles could increase antibiotic effectiveness in fighting multidrug-resistant bacteria. When activated by light, the quantum dots produce a biochemical reaction in bacteria that increases their sensitivity to antibiotics, even in low doses. [Science Advances, Newsweek, CIDRAP]

‘Modifying’ the vector to control malaria. Two different studies in Science, suggest ways to limit the spread of the malaria parasite by manipulating the disease vector. One study introduced a strain of harmless bacteria, Serratia AS1, into mosquitos, in order to render them resistant to the parasite. The second study genetically modified the mosquitos, which increased their immunity to the parasite. While both types of modified mosquitos quickly spread in the mosquito populations within a few generations under laboratory conditions, this is yet to be tested in natural environments. [Science AS1 study, Science microbiota study, Phys.org, Science, The Washington Post]

Zika vaccine shows promise in early human trials: A study in The New England Journal of Medicine reports promising results from a small human trial on a DNA-based Zika vaccine, GLS-5700. The three-dose vaccine generated immunity in all 40 healthy volunteers enrolled in the study. Larger studies will be required to test the efficacy of the vaccine. [The New England Journal of Medicine, Reuters]

Global strategy to fight cholera. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new strategy to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by 2030. Cholera affects 2.9 million people and causes 95,000 deaths each year, globally. This strategy comes on the heels of Yemen’s recent outbreak that crossed 700,000 suspected cases. [WHO]

Measles cases in US probably linked to lower vaccine use. A letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association links the recent surge in measles cases in the US to decreasing immunization rates in the country. Between the years 2001 and 2015, the incidence of measles was found to decline with age which indicates that low immunization coverage in babies may be the reason for outbreaks. [JAMA letter, CIDRAP]

Review of antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems in Europe. A study in Clinical Microbiology and Infection compares antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance systems in livestock and humans in European countries. The researchers recommend a uniformity in the surveillance systems and prompt publication of new resistance patterns that maybe identified. [Clinical Microbiology and Infection]

Report highlights local initiatives to tackle AMR in US. California and Maryland have further tightened their laws by prohibiting the use of medically important antibiotics in food animal production, highlights a report by the Consumer Federation of America. While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws allow the use of these commonly used antibiotics in disease prevention, the states have allowed their use only under extraordinary circumstances for disease prevention. [Consumer Federation of America]

Conflicting studies on FluMist vaccine. A new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases reports that the FluMist vaccine was effective in children during the 2015-16 flu season. This finding contradicts an earlier study in the The New England Journal of Medicine. The new study is said to be smaller and perhaps less precise. [Clinical Infectious Diseases, The New England Journal of MedicineCIDRAP]

High levels of flu in parts of Asia. A World Health Organization (WHO) global update finds high levels of flu virus circulating in Thailand, Laos, and southern China. The cases have decreased in Southern Asia where H1N1 virus has been commonly reported. While northern Africa remains relatively free of influenza, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone have reported flu cases. In Australia, although the cases were higher compared to the past seasons, the influenza levels have mostly plateaued. [WHO update]

Image courtesy: Jose-Luis Olivares, MIT