New Antibiotic Could Help Fight Resistant Staph Infections

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that an antibiotic effective for bacterial pneumonia also appears to fight treatment-resistant staph infections.

The drug is ceftobiprole. It appeared successful in fighting methicillin-resistant staph infections, sometimes called MRSA. It showed similar benefit when tested against the antibiotic daptomycin to treat complicated Staphylococcus aureus infections.

This means it could offer another option against this common and often deadly bacterial infection, according to the research led by Duke Health in Durham, N.C.

“This is an area of true need,” Dr. Thomas Holland, associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine and chair of the study's data review committee, said in a Duke Health news release. “There has not been a new antibiotic approved for the treatment of S. aureus bacteremia for over 15 years.”

The researchers studied the antibiotics in 390 patients in 17 countries who had complicated staph infections between 2018 and 2022. Roughly half were randomly assigned to receive infusions of ceftobiprole. The other half were treated intravenously with daptomycin.

The investigators assessed safety and overall treatment success, measured as survival, clearance of bacteria from the bloodstream, symptom improvement and no new bacterial complications 70 days after treatment.

Both antibiotics performed similarly.

In the ceftobiprole group, 69.8% of patients experienced overall success. That was compared to 68.7% in the daptomycin group. Gastrointestinal issues were the most common side effect for both drugs.

“Despite a lot of work in medical science, complicated staph infections still have a 25% [death] rate at 90 days,” said study co-author Dr. Vance Fowler, a professor of medicine and molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke. “We need more options for treating these infections.”

The study was sponsored by Basilea Pharmaceutica International Ltd., which markets ceftobiprole.

The findings were published online Sept. 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on staph infections.

SOURCE: Duke Health, news release, Sept. 27, 2023

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