In recent years, doctors have seen a surge in antibiotic-resistant cases of the three common sexually transmitted diseases: chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

But a new oral drug has shown potential against antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is fast becoming a public health concern. It can result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, can facilitate the transmission of HIV/AIDS, and is forecasted to be resistant to current treatment techniques in the near future.

Breakthrough drug the first of a new class of antibiotics

Additionally, this new drug has a novel mechanism – the first of a new class of antibiotics – where it “makes short chains that interrupt biosynthesis of DNA and kills the organism."

In America, there were more than 350,000 cases in 2014, translates to about 110 cases per 100,000 individuals; the incidence has been steadily climbing since 2009. In Singapore, there were 31 cases of per 100,000 individuals in 2013.

Data presented by Louisiana State University researchers on the newly developed drug, codenamed ETX0914, by EntasisTherapeutics, has shown that the drug is safe and effective.

Incredible success in phase II clinical trial

Following its initial success, the second phase of the clinical trial involving 179 men has been equally positive. 96 of the test subjects received ETX0914 in either 2g or 3g doses while 83 received ceftriaxone, one of the two final-defense drugs. Only one of the test subjects receiving ETX0914 – a 2g dose – was not cured; this represents a 98.95% cure rate.

Entasis President and CEO Manos Perros underscored the significance of the clinical trials success, “This strong phase II data validates Entasis’ overarching mission of discovering and developing antibiotic treatments for serious drug-resistant infections using a pathogen-targeted approach.”

With such strong results, the drug is awaiting stage III clinical trials.

Current final-defense drug waning

In Hawaii, America, there have been seven recently reported cases of gonorrhoea that has developed resistance to azithromycin and less susceptible to ceftriaxone, collectively the two last effective treatments. Such resistance first emerged in the 1990s.

In Singapore, the rate of penicillinase-producing Neisseria gonorrhoeae (PPNG) was 45% in 2013, a slight increase from 36.8% in 2012. Likewise, the rate of Neisseria gonorrhoeae cultures resistant to ciprofloxacin increased from 7.2% in 1998 to a startling 83.1% in 2013.

"Our last line of defence against gonorrhoea is weakening. If resistance continues to increase and spread, current treatment(s) will ultimately fail and 800,000 Americans a year will be at risk for untreatable gonorrhoea,” as Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said.

The US CDC recommended treatment o fa single shot of ceftriaxone and an oral dose of azithromycin has no reports of complete failure yet, but as US CDC pointed that as there is a high likelihood of undiagnosed cases, reports of resistance is only a matter of time. MIMS

Read more:
WHO urges STD treatment changes due to growing antibiotic resistance
First new antibiotic in a decade aims to counter growing bacterial resistance
Malaysian teens now more aware about sexual health than older generation

Sources News Bulletin/ENB01Q_15.pdf