Today, COVID-19 is defining our lives. The coronavirus disease outbreak has caught us by surprise resulting in many causalities and economic damage. As of today, more than 1,4 million coronavirus cases have occurred in approx. 200 countries. More than 82 thousand patients have died as a result of this viral infection. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will change our lives on many levels in the long term.
Now, it is in our hands to learn from one of the hardest lessons we are attending. It is our responsibility to prevent in future a pandemic of such a scale and keep the death rate and the economic damage at the minimum. According to the recent publications by Fei Zhou et al. titled “Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan” states that of the patients who died from this infection half (50%) had a secondary bacterial infection leading to sepsis and eventually death. Although, 95% of all COVID-19 patients were treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, only a single patient out of all patients with a secondary infection survived. This fact is very terrifying but demonstrates clearly that successful treatment of a secondary infection can make the difference between survival and death.
Undoubtedly, we lack effective treatment of bacterial infections in intensive care units (ICU). Once more, we are being reminded that antibiotics being a part of treatment regimens of not only severe antiviral infections, such as COVID-19, but also other hospitalized patients with multidrug-resistant (MDR) secondary infections are inevitable. It is our obligation to develop novel antibacterial drugs against MDR infections and the next outbreak to come. This is not the time to wait until this crisis is behind us! This is the time to act and invest in antibiotic development! AGILeBiotics is among a few biotech companies, which are focusing on the development of novel antibiotics for the treatment of severe MDR bacterial infections.
Recently, AGILeBiotics has nominated its next-generation antibiotic Toframicin for pre-clinical safety and pharmacology studies. Toframicin is a novel ultra-broad-spectrum antibiotic with improved safety profile and amplified efficacy against WHO’s priority pathogens, i.e. bacterial ESKAPE panel, pathogens which cause not only secondary infections, as observed in COVID-19 patients, but in general high death rate infections, such as respiratory infections, i.e. hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), bloodstream infections (BSI) and sepsis. Thanks to Toframicin’s ultra-broad-spectrum activity, currently also other indications are being explored, e.g. cystic fibrosis-associated P. aeruginosa and non-tuberculosis Mycobacterium (NTM) infections. According to our pre-clinical data Toframicin’s activity profile matches the current unmet medical need in the treatment of secondary infections of COVID-19 patients.