An August 4 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) includes mathematical modeling that projects substantial increases in life-threatening drug-resistant bacterial infections unless there are immediate, nationwide improvements in infection control and antibiotic prescribing. The report focused on four so-called “superbugs” for analysis—CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), which are resistant to all or almost all antibiotics, a multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can also cause deadly nosocomial infections (healthcare associated, or HAI), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).
The CDC projects that, over five years, infections by these four superbugs alone will increase by 10%, to 340,000 cases per year, if hospitals don’t improve how they control infections and a system isn’t set up that helps hospitals act cooperatively to send alerts when such deadly infections crop up. Currently, many hospitals work independently to control patient infections and don't report outbreaks to local or state health departments.
While these projections provide a sobering view of the growing risk of antibiotic-resistant infections and offer some recommendations on stemming the potential spread, they also highlight the need for novel treatments for these infections that work independently and potentially complement the use of antibiotics. XBiotech is developing a novel antibody therapy, known as 514G3, which is currently in a Phase 1 clinical study and was developed from a human donor with natural antibodies effective at neutralizing MRSA and non-MRSA forms of S. aureus. 514G3 is expected to treat all strains of MRSA and can be used without consideration for strain-specific resistance to various antibiotics. As a True Human monoclonal antibody, the Company also expects 514G3 to be tolerated without the side effects or risks of antibiotics.
Pursuit of new therapies like 514G3 is an important part of the equation for controlling antibiotic-resistant infections. Even the most optimistic projections do not forecast elimination of superbugs near term, and patients who acquire life-threatening S. aureus infections need effective treatments.