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New treatment developed for MDR infections on the NHS

Friday 31st May 2019
A recent study has helped develop new treatment options for dealing with several of the MDRs the NHS deals with.
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Multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections are a serious problem in heathcare, causing 25,000 deaths per year in the European Union. In particular, drug-resistant strains of Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) are increasingly becoming a problem, with some types being completely untreatable.

To help tackle this, a research consortium from the University of Liverpool - alongside Spero Therapeutics - is developing a new drug specifically designed to tackle the spread of MDR GNB on the NHS. Tebipenem pivoxil hydrobromide (SPR994) is part of a class of drugs known as carbapenems, which are a class of highly-effective antibiotics.

These drugs are not usually given out for most bacterial infections, instead being kept to deal with known or suspected MDR strains. Most carbapenems are administered using an intravenous injection, requiring hospitalisation. However, SPR994 is being developed as a medication that can be taken orally, which should lessen the time patients need to spend in hospital.

The drug has been tested using a variety of experimental systems to determine the correct dosage for a phase III trial. These mimicked the spread of human disease, which was analysed with various statistical techniques. Patients are currently being recruited for this task, which will be carried out in centres around the globe.

This method of developing the drug is particularly quick, which is necessary in order to get the drug out to the NHS as soon as is safely possible. Given the lack of available therapies for several types of drug-resistant, GNB, it is important SPR994 is made available to patients as soon as it is determined to be safe and useful.

Professor William Hope, leader of the research consortium, said: “Working with Spero Therapeutics enabled the considerable experience in antimicrobial drug development in the consortium to be utilized and ensures that tebipenem can be a future treatment option for patients in the NHS and around the world.”

Written by James Puckle

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