Local News

New Antibiotic On Horizon To Protect Against Staph Infections

Posted March 7, 2003

— Each year, health officials say more than 40,000 patients die from infections they pick up while hospitalized. They also say staph is the biggest culprit. In fact today, health officials say nearly half of hospital staph infections are antibiotic-resistant.

"This is very frightening to think of a time when we might not have antibiotics to treat these staph infections," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Moellering.

However, there is a new weapon on the horizon. In lab tests, a new antibiotic called Daptomycin quickly kills many of the superbugs including those that cause the most serious infections.

"We have a compound that for the first time is able to kill organisms that are presently killing people -- certain organisms that are otherwise resistant to essentially every antibiotic that is presently out there," said Dr. Barry Eisenstein of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

The results are so promising that the Food and Drug Administration gave the drug priority review, which could cut the approval process in half from the standard 12 months to just six.

"The properties of this drug line up with the need that's currently out there, and that's what I think is generating a lot of enthusiasm both from clinicians and regulatory authorities to move this drug forward as rapidly as possible," said Scott Rocklage, chief executive officer of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

If things go as planned, the new drug could be approved as early as this June.


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