SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

New antibiotic shows promise in better treating C. difficile infections

During a conference held earlier this week, Summit Corp. said its latest studies on a new antibiotic indicate that the drug is more effective than standard treatment plans in treating C. difficile.

The company presented the data from its latest study on the drug-SMT19969-at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

According to the data, SMT19969 was more effective than vancomycin, which is considered the current standard treatment.

The drug, compared to vancomycin, increased patients' survival rates and helped prevent recurrent disease. The study also showed it was more effective at killing the C. difficile bacteria and helped to reduce toxin production.

"C. difficile infection is associated with high levels of recurrent disease and, to reduce this, it is imperative that antibiotics which minimize impact on the natural bacterial flora of the gut are used," Dale Gerding, a professor of medicine at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, said. "The gut flora and its protective role are typically disrupted in CDI patients. Antibiotics that have a targeted spectrum of activity, such as SMT19969, could allow restoration of the protective flora to happen sooner and so reduce disease recurrence. The results on SMT19969 are encouraging and it warrants further evaluation in patient clinical trials."

The development of the drug is supported by a Translational Award from the Wellcome Trust.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, C. difficile most often occurs in patients taking antibiotics, which can disturb the normal flora of the gut and cause diarrhea, fever, nausea, loss of appetite and belly pain and tenderness.

Hospital stays resulting from C. difficile infections have tripled over the past 10 years, with nearly all infections connected to medical care. The condition is linked to 14,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.