Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
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Afro-European partnership in quest to tackle AMR

Two major research partnerships convened in Johannesburg this week to present findings of antibiotic research and strengthen the global response to antimicrobial resistance, which killed nearly 1.3m people in 2019.

One in five of those deaths was in children under five, notes MedicalBrief.

The meeting, involving scientists and clinicians from PediCAP and SNIP-AFRICA, was funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), a collaboration between Europe and Africa to tackle infectious diseases and boost response to AMR, one of the most critical threats to public health and development worldwide.

Resource-limited African countries are disproportionately affected by rising levels of antimicrobial resistance, posing significant challenges to child health.

“Preventing infections and identifying optimal treatment regimens are critical to reducing mortality rates in children, and studies assessing old or new antibiotics must include patients from these countries” said Professor Sithembiso Velaphi of the University of the Witwatersrand, and head of Paediatrics and Child Health at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

Building on a successful collaboration in paediatric infectious diseases, researchers and clinicians from PediCAP and SNIP-AFRICA, both led by Penta – Child Health Research, are pioneering innovative interventional research to address the urgent challenge of childhood infections like pneumonia and neonatal sepsis in children in Africa.

“Current methods for obtaining reliable evidence on which of the many commonly-used antibiotic regimens should really be recommended, and how long they should be given for, are inefficient, so children are probably not getting the best treatment”, said Sarah Walker, professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London.

“PediCAP and SNIP-AFRICA are the first trials to use two new designs that allow us to compare more different treatment options more effectively and efficiently.”

Over the past five years, PediCAP's main clinical trial has evaluated the optimal drug, dose and duration of oral step-down antibiotics for children aged between two months and six years, who were hospitalised with severe or very severe community-acquired pneumonia.

“Current guidelines recommend intravenous antibiotics, but PediCAP wants to determine if oral step-down antibiotics are as effective, thus reducing hospital stays and antibiotic treatment duration, and minimising antimicrobial resistance risks,” said David Moore, professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Chris Hani and at Wits.

The results of PediCAP’s main trial were to be discussed at the Johannesburg meeting this week.

Sepsis and dosage

SNIP-AFRICA will be conducting a clinical trial and pharmacokinetic studies to identify the optimal antibiotic dose and regimens that can significantly reduce mortality rates caused by drug-resistant sepsis in newborns.

“More than 214 000 newborn babies die of drug-resistant sepsis annually – a rising and urgent challenge, especially in African countries. It is crucial to identify new treatment regimens, and to identify the right drug(s) at the right dosage to treat these babies,” said Sally Ellis, Children’s Antibiotics Project Leader for the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP).

GARDP, an NPO that develops new treatments for drug-resistant infections posing the greatest threat to health, is collaborating on the trial to evaluate new and existing combinations of antibiotics for suspected neonatal sepsis in newborns.

Both projects intend to establish an active community of practice for researchers and clinicians, ensuring research and research findings are integrated into medical practice. Additionally, PediCAP and SNIP-AFRICA’s ultimate goal is to equip participating teams with lasting capability to run, lead and design innovative interventional research, addressing local needs, and tailoring effective interventions within the African context.

See more from MedicalBrief archives:


AMR burden weighs heavily on Africa – global study


Step forward as first study maps out Africa’s superbug threat


New antibiotics vital to stem newborn deaths


SA and Kenya in global trial for neonatal sepsis treatment



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