26 research outputs found

    Heteroaryl-Ethylenes as New Effective Agents for High Priority Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacterial Clinical Isolates

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    The World Health Organization has identified antimicrobial resistance as a public health emergency and developed a global priority pathogens list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be summarized in the acronym ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacterales species), reminding us of their ability to escape the effect of antibacterial drugs. We previously tested new heteroaryl-ethylene compounds in order to define their spectrum of activity and antibacterial capability. Now, we focus our attention on PB4, a compound with promising MIC and MBC values in all conditions tested. In the present study, we evaluate the activity of PB4 on selected samples of ESKAPE isolates from nosocomial infections: 14 S. aureus, 6 E. faecalis, 7 E. faecium, 12 E. coli and 14 A. baumannii. Furthermore, an ATCC control strain was selected for all species tested. The MIC tests were performed according to the standard method. The PB4 MIC values were within very low ranges regardless of bacterial species and resistance profiles: from 0.12 to 2 mg/L for S. aureus, E. faecalis, E. faecium and A. baumannii. For E. coli, the MIC values obtained were slightly higher (4–64 mg/L) but still promising. The PB4 heteroaryl-ethylenic compound was able to counteract the bacterial growth of both high-priority Gram-positive and Gram-negative clinical strains. Our study contributes to the search for new molecules that can fight bacterial infections, in particular those caused by MDR bacteria in hospitals. In the future, it would be interesting to evaluate the activity of PB4 in animal models to test for its toxicity

    Elexacaftor-Tezacaftor-Ivacaftor as a Final Frontier in the Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis: Definition of the Clinical and Microbiological Implications in a Case-Control Study

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    The use of modulator drugs that target the Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is the final frontier in the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic multiorgan disease. F508del is the most common mutation causing defective formation and function of CFTR. Elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor is the first triple combination of CFTR modulators. Herein, we report on a one-year case-control study that involved 26 patients with at least one F508del mutation. Patients were assigned to two similar groups, and patients with the worse clinical condition received treatment with the triple combination therapy. The study aimed to define the clinical and especially microbiological implications of treatment administration. The treatment provided significant clinical benefits in terms of respiratory, pancreatic, and sweat function. After one year of therapy, airway infection rates decreased and pulmonary exacerbations were dramatically reduced. Finally, treated patients reported a surprising improvement in their quality of life. The use of triple combination therapy has become essential in most CF people carrying the F508del mutation. Although the clinical and instrumental benefits of treatment are thoroughly known, further investigations are needed to properly define its microbiological respiratory implications and establish the real advantage of life-long treatment with elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor

    Discriminatory Weight of SNPs in Spike SARS-CoV-2 Variants: A Technically Rapid, Unambiguous, and Bioinformatically Validated Laboratory Approach

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    Background: The SARS-CoV-2 virus has assumed considerable importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its mutation rate is high, involving the spike (S) gene and thus there has been a rapid spread of new variants. Herein, we describe a rapid, easy, adaptable, and affordable workflow to uniquely identify all currently known variants through as few analyses. Our method only requires two conventional PCRs of the S gene and two Sanger sequencing reactions, and possibly another PCR/sequencing assay on a N gene portion to identify the B.1.160 lineage. Methods: We selected an S gene 1312 bp portion containing a set of SNPs useful for discriminating all variants. Mathematical, statistical, and bioinformatic analyses demonstrated that our choice allowed us to identify all variants even without looking for all related mutations, as some of them are shared by different variants (e.g., N501Y is found in the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants) whereas others, that are more informative, are unique (e.g., A57 distinctive to the Alpha variant). Results: A “weight” could be assigned to each mutation that may be present in the selected portion of the S gene. The method’s robustness was confirmed by analyzing 80 SARS-CoV-2-positive samples. Conclusions: Our workflow identified the variants without the need for whole-genome sequencing and with greater reliability than with commercial kits

    Staphylococcus aureus Internalization in Osteoblast Cells: Mechanisms, Interactions and Biochemical Processes. What Did We Learn from Experimental Models?

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    Bacterial internalization is a strategy that non-intracellular microorganisms use to escape the host immune system and survive inside the human body. Among bacterial species, Staphylococcus aureus showed the ability to interact with and infect osteoblasts, causing osteomyelitis as well as bone and joint infection, while also becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic therapy and a reservoir of bacteria that can make the infection difficult to cure. Despite being a serious issue in orthopedic surgery, little is known about the mechanisms that allow bacteria to enter and survive inside the osteoblasts, due to the lack of consistent experimental models. In this review, we describe the current knowledge about S. aureus internalization mechanisms and various aspects of the interaction between bacteria and osteoblasts (e.g., best experimental conditions, bacteria-induced damages and immune system response), focusing on studies performed using the MG-63 osteoblastic cell line, the best traditional (2D) model for the study of this phenomenon to date. At the same time, as it has been widely demonstrated that 2D culture systems are not completely indicative of the dynamic environment in vivo, and more recent 3D models—representative of bone infection—have also been investigated

    Low Represented Mutation Clustering in SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 Sublineage Group with Synonymous Mutations in the E Gene

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    Starting in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat that is difficult to monitor. SARS-CoV-2 is known to undergo frequent mutations, including SNPs and deletions, which seem to be transmitted together, forming clusters that define specific lineages. Reverse-Transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been used for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis and is still considered the gold standard method. Our Eukaryotic Host Pathogens Interaction (EHPI) laboratory received six SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from a Sicilian private analysis laboratory, four of which showed a dropout of the E gene. Our sequencing data revealed the presence of a synonymous mutation (c.26415 C > T, TAC > TAT) in the E gene of all four samples showing the dropout in RT-qPCR. Interestingly, these samples also harbored three other mutations (S137L—Orf1ab; N439K—S gene; A156S—N gene), which had a very low diffusion rate worldwide. This combination suggested that these mutations may be linked to each other and more common in a specific area than in the rest of the world. Thus, we decided to analyze the 103 sequences in our internal database in order to confirm or disprove our “mutation cluster hypothesis”. Within our database, one sample showed the synonymous mutation (c.26415 C > T, TAC > TAT) in the E gene. This work underlines the importance of territorial epidemiological surveillance by means of NGS and the sequencing of samples with clinical and or technical particularities, e.g., post-vaccine infections or RT-qPCR amplification failures, to allow for the early identification of these SNPs. This approach may be an effective method to detect new mutational clusters and thus to predict new emerging SARS-CoV-2 lineages before they spread globally

    Combination of aztreonam, ceftazidime-avibactam and amikacin in the treatment of VIM-1 Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST235 osteomyelitis

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    We describe a challenging case of a patient with MBL-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa sternal osteomyelitis following aortic valve replacement with biological prosthesis. The strain exhibited a multidrug-resistance phenotype carrying the blaVIM-1 gene and belonged to the high-risk clone sequence type ST235. The patient was successfully treated with surgical debridement plus antibiotic therapy with ceftazidime/avibactam, aztreonam, and amikacin. Time kill curves showed that this triple antibiotic combination at 1 X MIC was strongly synergic after 8\u2009hours, achieving 99.9% killing, and maintaining this until 48\u2009hours

    Heteroaryl-Ethylenes as New Lead Compounds in the Fight against High Priority Bacterial Strains

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    The widespread use of antibiotics has led to a gradual increase in drug-resistant bacterial infections, which severely weakens the clinical efficacy of antibacterial therapies. In recent decades, stilbenes aroused great interest because of their high bioavailability, as well as their manifold biological activity. Our research efforts are focused on synthetic heteroaromatic stilbene derivatives as they represent a potentially new type of antibiotic with a wide antibacterial spectrum. Herein, a preliminary molecular modeling study and a versatile synthetic scheme allowed us to define eight heteroaromatic stilbene derivatives with potential antimicrobial activity. In order to evaluate our compound’s activity spectrum and antibacterial ability, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) tests have been performed on Gram-positive and Gram-negative ATCC strains. Compounds PB4, PB5, PB7, and PB8 showed the best values in terms of MIC and were also evaluated for MBC, which was found to be greater than MIC, confirming a bacteriostatic activity. For all compounds, we evaluated toxicity on colon-rectal adenocarcinoma cells tumor cells (CaCo2), once it was established that the whole selected set was more active than 5-Fluorouracil in reducing CaCo-2 cells viability. To the best of our knowledge, the biological assays have shown for these derivatives an excellent bacteriostatic activity, compared to similar molecular structures previously reported, thus paving the way for a new class of antibiotic compounds

    Post-Mortem Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Long-Buried Lung Samples

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    The Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an unexpected death toll worldwide. Even though several guidelines for the management of infectious corpses have been proposed, the limited number of post-mortem analyses during the pandemic has led to inaccuracies in the counting of COVID-19 deaths and contributed to a lack of important information about the pathophysiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Due to the impossibility of carrying out autopsies on all corpses, the scientific community has raised the question of whether confirmatory analyses could be performed on exhumed bodies after a long period of burial to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Post-mortem lung samples were collected from 16 patients who died from COVID-19 infection and were buried for a long period of time. A custom RNA extraction protocol was developed to enhance extraction of viral RNA from degraded samples and highly sensitive molecular methods, including RT-qPCR and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), were used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The custom extraction protocol developed allowed us to extract total RNA effectively from all lung samples collected. SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was effectively detected in all samples by both RT-qPCR and ddPCR, regardless of the length of burial. ddPCR results confirmed the persistence of the virus in this anatomical niche and revealed high viral loads in some lung samples, suggesting active infection at the time of death. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in the lung even after a long post-mortem interval (up to 78 days). The extraction protocol herein described, and the highly sensitive molecular analyses performed, could represent the standard procedures for SARS-CoV-2 detection in degraded lung specimens. Finally, the innovative results obtained encourage post-mortem confirmatory analyses even after a long post-mortem interval

    Resistance to Echinocandins Complicates a Case of Candida albicans Bloodstream Infection: A Case Report

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    Invasive candidiasis is known to be one of the most common healthcare-associated complications and is caused by several Candida species. First-line drugs, particularly echinocandins, are effective, but there are increasing reports of resistance to these molecules, though rarely related to C. albicans. Even though the rate of echinocandins resistance remains low (<3%), sporadic cases are emerging. Here, we present a case of bloodstream infection by a pan-echinocandin-resistant Candida albicans affecting a critically ill patient, who died in an intensive care unit following therapeutic failure and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. This case highlights the need to suspect pan-echinocandin resistance in patients with prolonged echinocandin exposure, particularly in the presence of urinary tract colonization. Our study shows the importance of sequencing to predict therapeutic failure in patients treated with echinocandins and persistent candidemia

    Gold standard susceptibility testing of fosfomycin in Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacterales using a new agar dilution panel

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    Abstract Objectives Many clinical laboratories have difficulty in routinely performing in vitro fosfomycin susceptibility testing using the agar dilution (AD) method, considered to be the gold standard method. The objective of our work was to evaluate a rapid commercial fosfomycin agar dilution panel against clinical Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacterales strains, in two different centres located in Italy and in the UK. Methods A total of 99 Enterobacterales (mostly Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae) and 80 S. aureus clinical isolates was used to evaluate the commercial device, a 12-well panel containing fosfomycin incorporated into CA-MH agar supplemented with 25 mg/L of glucose-6-phosphate (Liofilchem S.r.l., Roseto degli Abruzzi, Italy). Testing was performed in two centres (Italy and UK) and kit results were compared against the gold standard in-house AD MIC method. Results According to the EUCAST breakpoints, fosfomycin inhibited 61% of the S. aureus strains, and 76% of the Enterobacterales isolates tested by the AD reference method. There was a Categorical Agreement (CA) of 100% and an Essential Agreement (EA) of 91.25% for S. aureus; while the Enterobacterales strains showed a CA of 94% and an EA of 97%. No evaluation errors were observed among S. aureus, while 5% Major Error and 1% Very Major Error were observed for the Enterobacterales. Conclusions Our results confirmed the feasibility of determining fosfomycin susceptibility using a commercial AD panel as a routine substitution for the AD test. The few differences observed were only in strains with MICs around the breakpoint used
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