A new antibiotic against superbugs

The new cephalosporin uses a unique cellular entry mechanism which, like a ‘Trojan horse’, is able to bypass major resistance barriers.

“Every year in Europe – recalls Pierluigi Viale, director of the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences of the University of Bologna – there are 25 thousand deaths related to infections by multi-resistant bacteria and also in Italy the percentages of resistance to the main classes of antibiotics for pathogens under surveillance they remain high “.

So much so that the estimated deaths in Italy are over 10,000 every year. Furthermore, Viale adds, “in recent years scientific research has struggled to fill this gap”.

Cefiderocol is a new antibiotic therapy capable of providing coverage against all aerobic Gram-negative pathogens considered of critical priority by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as Acinetobacter baumannii resistant to carbapenems and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

“Having a new generation antibiotic, to be used in a specific and targeted way on particular resistant strains and effective in reducing deaths and complications, can really represent a significant turning point for patients”, underlines Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa.

The Infectious Diseases Operating Unit of the Pisan University Hospital has tested the effectiveness of the new antibiotic in advance, precisely in patients in critical conditions and many of them suffering from Covid-19. “The pandemic – explains director Francesco Menichetti – has brought to light the seriousness of the ‘crisis’ of antibiotics, which have proved inadequate in treating people with Sars-Cov-2 particularly exposed to secondary bacterial infections”.

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This new antibiotic “was a crucial rescue therapy for these patients with no therapeutic alternatives,” concludes Menichetti. These evidences, added to the pivotal studies, confirm that the new cephalosporin may be a useful tool to counteract antimicrobial resistance. But alone it is not enough. A stronger territorial-hospital cooperation is needed, the experts conclude, to promote the correct use of antibiotics on several levels, from the veterinary to the hospital field.