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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Drug Companies Share Data on Antibiotic Resistance
17 December 2001 (All day)
CHICAGO--Coaxed by a Boston-based advocacy group, two giant drug companies have released proprietary data on antibiotic resistance. The new figures, presented here 17 December at the meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, show that deadly pneumonia-causing microbes have begun to evade ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and other drugs belonging to a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones.
For the last decade, physicians have relied on fluoroquinolones to wipe out various bacteria, including bugs that cause pneumonia, skin infections, gonorrhea, and even anthrax. The microbes can evolve resistance to fluoroquinolones in the laboratory. To determine whether this is happening in hospitals, the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) in Boston began pressing major drug companies to reveal antibiotic resistance data. Recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline agreed to share their information about tests on clinical isolates of Hemophilus influenzae, the second leading cause of bacterial pneumonia death in children in the developing world.
Drug company researchers have for years been collecting thousands of H. influenzae isolates from patients in hospitals and clinics across North America and Europe. In the lab, they grow the samples in cultures that contain various levels of either of two fluoroquinolones, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin. Fully resistant bugs can survive antibiotic concentrations 16 times as high as would kill a susceptible bug. But because bacteria often develop resistance gradually by undergoing a series of mutations, the drug company counted those that survived levels of drug just 2 times what's normally deadly. This strategy allows a glimpse into resistance in the making, says microbiologist Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, president of APUA.
The two companies revealed that fewer than 0.1% of microbe samples collected before 1997 had gained some resistance to the drugs. But since 2000, the incidence of partial resistance has increased slightly to about 0.15%. Other drug firms are thought to be also gathering this type of data, though it remains proprietary.
Pharmacologist Michael Dudley of Microcide Pharmaceuticals in Mountainview, California, calls the study well done, although he cautions that it's still hard to tell if resistance is on the rise because the incidence is so low.