Antibiotic shows promise in fighting deadly staph infections

"Despite a lot of work in medical science, complicated staph infections still have a 25% mortality rate at 90 days," says Vance G. Fowler, Jr. "We need more options for treating these infections." (Credit: Marcelo Leal/Unsplash)

An antibiotic that has shown effectiveness for bacterial pneumonia also appears successful in fighting methicillin-resistant staph infections, researchers report.

The drug, ceftobiprole, showed similar benefit when tested against the antibiotic daptomycin to treat complicated Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections. If approved by the FDA, ceftobiprole could provide another line of defense against a common and often deadly bacterial infection.

“This is an area of true need,” says Thomas Holland, associate professor in the medicine department at Duke University School of Medicine and chair of the data review committee of the study that is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “There has not been a new antibiotic approved for the treatment of S. aureus bacteremia for over 15 years.”

For the study, researchers enrolled 390 patients with complicated staph infections at 60 sites in 17 countries from August 2018 through March 2022. They randomly assigned roughly half to receive infusions of ceftobiprole and treated the other half intravenously with daptomycin.

The primary outcome was overall treatment success, which required survival, clearance of the bacteria from the bloodstream, symptom improvement, and no new bacterial complications 70 days after treatment. Safety was also assessed.

The study found that both antibiotics performed similarly. Of the ceftobiprole group, 69.8% of patients experienced overall success, compared to 68.7% in the daptomycin group. Both drugs were also similarly tolerated, with gastrointestinal issues being the most common side effect.

“Despite a lot of work in medical science, complicated staph infections still have a 25% mortality rate at 90 days,” says coauthor Vance G. Fowler, Jr., professor in the medicine and molecular genetics and microbiology departments. “We need more options for treating these infections.”

The study received funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, and Biomedical Advanced Research .

Source: Duke University