Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish.

Regulatory frameworks for accelerated drug approval and antimicrobial innovation.

A new report by One Health Trust researchers, supported by the AMR Industry Alliance, describes the current climate for antimicrobial innovation, focusing on regulatory challenges and opportunities for the approval of new antibiotics in Brazil, India, and South Africa. The report highlights the importance of explicitly recognizing new antimicrobials targeting serious or life-threatening infections as a critical unmet medical need, formalizing their inclusion in regulatory frameworks for accelerated drug approval. [Download the report here.]

Superspreading and determinants of infectiousness and symptomatic infection.

One Health Trust researchers and collaborators analyzed contact tracing data in the Karnataka region of India between March 9 and July 21, 2020. Transmission metrics, including the reproduction number, overdispersion, secondary attack rate (SAR), and serial interval, were estimated. The determinants of risk for further transmission and symptomatic disease were identified using Poisson regression models. 111 index cases were found to cross the super-spreading threshold of ≥8 secondary cases. Of 956 confirmed traced cases, 8.7% of index cases had 14.4% of contacts but caused 80% of all secondary cases. Symptomatic cases were 8.16 times more likely than asymptomatic cases to cause symptomatic infection in associated secondary cases. [PLOS ONE]

High COVID-19 testing coverage remains necessary during sustained transmission.

A modelling study by One Health Trust researchers and collaborators simulated the impact of RT-PCR assays, rapid antigen tests, and vaccinations on SARS-CoV-2 spread, based on testing strategies in India and the United States. For the same coverage and frequency of testing, RT-PCR assays resulted in 12.65% and 9.30% more cases than antigen tests in the United States and India, respectively. The findings were probably due to RT-PCR tests requiring a longer turnaround time during which infected individuals may continue transmitting. Although increasing the testing frequency had the most impact to control transmission, increasing testing coverage was deemed necessary in scenarios of sustained transmission. A resource-limited vaccination strategy and high-frequency testing were 16.50% more effective in reducing cases in India than in the United States. [PLOS ONE]

COVID-19 variants were detected in sewage before they were identified in clinics.

Scientists in California developed a method that uses nanobeads to increase the amount of viral RNA that can be sequenced from a wastewater sample to facilitate COVID-19 variants and their abundance. In testing their methods, the scientists collected samples from a sewage-treatment plant in San Diego and around a university campus for almost a year, beginning in February 2021. They detected multiple variants, including Omicron, before the strains were found in people tested in clinics. [Nature]

Gender and sexuality as social determinants of health in assessing quality of healthcare (QHC).

The majority of studies that address gender and sexuality related to QHC focus primarily on individual professionals and patient-to-patient behaviors/outcomes. Researchers studied structures, processes, and outcomes that influence QHC to design policies to reduce inequalities related to gender and sexuality. They found that the focus of reducing these inequalities must move beyond improving access and care delivery to address the root causes of disease and health determinants that are the result of social and economic inequalities, rather than deficiencies of the health system. [Health Systems]

Many incorrectly identify themselves as “unable” to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

A survey of 1,852 adults in New Zealand revealed that 65% of participants expressed COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Those who were more confident or had higher levels of self-efficacy were more likely to be willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines, whereas politically conservative people and men were more likely to express hesitancy. Although 25% of those surveyed reported they were unable to receive the vaccine, nearly 75% of this group did not meet the criteria (asthma, concerns with fertility, and pregnancy) considered legitimate by the CDC to deny vaccination. [BMC Public Health]

Perceptions on the health impacts of climate change.

A survey of 2,599 individuals from ten English-speaking Caribbean countries aimed at understanding the public’s knowledge of the impact of climate change on health and the environment showed that 60% thought that climate change was mainly associated with human activity. The proportion of respondents who believed climate change had an impact on health-related issues ranged from about 60% for extreme weather events, extreme heat, and air pollution; to only 33% for hunger/malnutrition and contaminated water; and 25% for contaminated food. [The Journal of Climate Change and Health]

A cancer therapy inspired a new approach to multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Photoimmunotherapy is a novel anticancer therapy that allows the selective destruction of cancer cells without damage to normal tissues. Based on photoimmuno-technology, researchers developed a strategy called photoimmuno-antimicrobial strategy (PIAS), which targets and eliminates pathogens through mechanical stress, regardless of the target species or drug-resistance status. This method has shown to successfully target Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, including their drug-resistant strains. [Communications Biology]