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Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Diseases Society of America, Oct. 25-28, 2008

48th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/46th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

The first joint meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) took place Oct. 25 to 28 in Washington, D.C.; attracted about 15,200 physicians, clinical microbiologists, researchers, pharmacists, trainees and other health care professionals from around the world; and featured more than 100 sessions on subjects including rotavirus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), HIV/AIDS, and new and emerging infections.

Jay Lieberman, M.D., of Focus Diagnostics in Cypress, Calif., and colleagues analyzed data from Quest Diagnostics, which performs nearly 28,000 rotavirus tests each year. After comparing results from before and after routine vaccination began in August 2006, the researchers found that there was a 76 percent reduction in the total number of positive test results despite data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that only about half of 3-month-old infants have received their first dose of rotavirus vaccine and that only one-third of 13-month-olds have received three doses.

"It appears that vaccination led to reduced circulation and transmission of the virus among infants and young children, resulting in herd immunity," Lieberman said in a statement. "As the use of the vaccine increases, the burden of rotavirus infection in the U.S. should be further reduced."

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Many sessions addressed the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of MRSA infections. "It's an evolving field, and researchers are developing new diagnostic systems that can quickly answer whether or not a patient is colonized with MRSA," said program committee co-chair W. Michael Scheld, M.D., of the University of Virginia Health Systems in Charlottesville. "Those will be extremely important as hospitals roll out programs for surveillance of MRSA."

During one session, Drew Smith, Ph.D., of MicroPhage Inc. in Longmont, Colo., described a new test kit in which two tubes of blood samples are incubated for five hours and then analyzed with dipstick-type detectors. One tube determines the presence of Staphylococcus aureus; the other tube determines the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. According to an analysis of 240 samples, the kit had a sensitivity of 93 percent and a specificity of 96 percent at identifying Staphylococcus aureus and a sensitivity of 99 percent and specificity of 99 percent at identifying methicillin susceptibility.

"These results, if confirmed by clinical testing, indicate that the MicroPhage test could be an important tool in aiding the diagnosis and treatment of staphylococcus aureus bacteremia," which accounts for 700,000 deaths each year in the United States, Smith said in a statement.

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"A lot of new phase 3 information was presented at the meeting on three new MRSA antibiotics: oritavancin, televancin, and iclaprim," Scheld said. "The advisory committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is meeting next month to discuss their use in complicated skin and soft-tissue infections."

One of the meeting's sessions -- "New Drugs in the Pipeline for MRSA" -- was an update of recent research. "We welcome having these new drugs," Scheld said. "What we lack are new drugs for gram-negative bacteria. There are a number of new agents in development, but so far all the research is pre-clinical."

Another session -- "All New Antimicrobial Agents" -- was an update on new anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agents. "This is the premiere meeting in the world for the first introduction of new antimicrobial agents," Scheld said. "Many of them are still in pre-clinical testing, in vitro activity, activity in animal models, and structural activity relationships. But there was quite a bit of data on phase 3 clinical trials of new antibiotics in humans."

At least three sessions addressed emerging or re-emerging pathogens. Scheld said, "These included chickungunya virus, which has spread from Africa across the Indian Ocean to India and then to Italy." Researchers also documented the rise of dengue in Latin America, where cases increased from 1 million in the 1980s to more than 4.6 million in 2000-2007, resulting in 1,343 deaths, and the emergence of Streptococcus suis, an infection from pigs that causes a toxic shock-like syndrome in Southeast Asia.

"There was a huge program on HIV/AIDS," Scheld said. "A number of sessions reported on challenging cases and disease management." In an "HIV Updates" session, researchers reported that clinicians no longer focus solely on treating opportunistic infections but are paying increased attention to managing HAART regimens: determining the best time to start therapy, changing combinations to stay one step ahead of emerging resistance, and treating symptoms resulting from long-term exposure to HIV and HAART medications.

Benjamin Linas, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston constructed a computer program showing that State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that face budget shortfalls could reduce mortality by 15 percent and opportunistic infections by 20 percent by giving priority to patients with advanced disease instead of accepting patients on a first-come, first-served basis.

"By anticipating the effects of various policy decisions, this research helps AIDS Drug Assistance Programs administrators make informed decisions about how best to support the health of persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly those in greatest need of public support," co-author Kevin Cranston, director of the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

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ICAAC/IDSA: New Treatment for Cold Sores on Horizon

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A new topical treatment for cold sores is as effective as the leading oral systemic drugs but has fewer safety or toxicity concerns, according to research presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Diseases Society of America annual meeting held Oct. 25 to 28 in Washington, D.C.

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ICAAC/IDSA: Hospital Program Increases Family Flu Shots

MONDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital-based interventions were effective in improving influenza vaccination coverage in new parents, which can help protect infants from infection, according to research presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Diseases Society of America annual meeting held Oct. 25 to 28 in Washington, D.C.

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ICAAC/IDSA: Finding May Lead to Better Candida Treatment

MONDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- New drugs might be able to exploit a protein in Candida albicans that the yeast uses for host infection, according to research presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Diseases Society of America annual meeting held Oct. 25 to 28 in Washington, D.C.

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Physician's Briefing
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