A veteran San Antonio emergency room doctor is now trying to keep patients safe in the ER. Dr. Barr Loring Baynton, who staffed the emergency room at Methodist Hospital, is now one of the of physicians worldwide who is conducting clinical trials on a vaccine to fight one of the most dangerous of the so called ‘superbugs,’ 1200 WAOI news reports.
Dr. Baynton, who is now clinical director of Endeavor Clinical Trials in San Antonio, says the Phase III clinical trial for the vaccine pioneered by the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur has promise in fighting C. diff, a potentially life threatening bacterium that causes intestinal disease and results in more than 14,000 fatalities each year.
“There is really only a couple of antibiotics that will kill it, and unfortunately, resistance to those antibiotics is increasing rapidly,” Baynton said.
C. diff is so hard to fight that the ‘diff’ part is short for the French word for ‘difficult,’ ‘difficile.’
“There are about 15,000 deaths per year in this country associated with C. diff,” he said. “And at least another 500,000 people a year come down with a significant case of the disease.”
‘Superbugs’ are also known as ‘hospital infections’ because they mainly hit elderly and sick people in hospitals and nursing homes. Since C. diff. reproduces in spores, the usual procedures for fighting infection, like scrubbing and use of anti biotics, are less useful. C. diff. targets the patient’s stomach and bowel systems, leading to diarrhea.
The clock is definitely ticking on Dr. Baynton’s work. He says the FDA has already ‘fast tracked’ the vaccine, and if proven successful in clinical trials, it could be up for FDA approval in three to four years, which is light speed for an experimental drug.
C. diff causes some $4.8 billion in additional health care costs for hospitals, in addition to the costs of treatment of patients.
Superbugs are thought to have evolved sufficiently since the wholesale introduction of antibiotics in the 1930s that they have developed immunity to conventional treatments.
Dr. Baynton says if successful and approved by the FDA, the C. diff vaccine would become fairly standard for patients most at risk.
“Folks in general who have been in the hospital a fair amount, and nursing home folks.”
Endeavor Clinical Trials is looking for individuals willing to participate in the testing for the C. diff. vaccine, and help make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. Participants should be over 50, have been hospitalized twice in the past year and have taken anti biotics, or have an upcoming surgery requiring a hospital stay of several days.
Please call 949-0807 if you want to participate in this history-making trial.