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Tags aromatherapy , bacterial infection , Burkholderia pseudomallei , melioidosis , Whitmore's disease

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Old 12th May 2022, 01:25 PM   #1
Chris_Halkides
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Autopsy finds rare, deadly bacterial infection, not Covid-19

The tragic death of a 5-year old boy was first thought to be from Covid-19. An autopsy showed that there had been a bacterial infection from the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. The disease is called melioidosis, and the source of the bacteria was found to be a product was a lavender aromatherapy spray. The product was sold at Walmart (a large discount store across the U.S.), and at least two other people were affected. The product was recalled. The MedPageToday story stated, "The Georgia boy and the Kansas woman both died from their infections. Geller said melioidosis usually has a 10% to 50% mortality rate." The CDC wrote, "Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals."

One of the reasons that I decided to start a new thread was to highlight how dangerous bacterial infections can be. IMO we are behind where we should be in developing new antibacterial compounds.
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Old 12th May 2022, 01:30 PM   #2
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IMO we are behind where we should be in developing new antibacterial compounds.
No money in it?
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:16 PM   #3
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Whew. That brings the number of US deaths due to COVID way back down to 999,998.
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:32 PM   #4
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I'm sure the kid's mom found comfort in that..
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
No money in it?
Yes, because a new antibiotic needs to be conserved to slow the development of drug resistance. That's why we need public money invested in the endeavor.
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:39 PM   #6
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If you are buying your lavender aromatherapy sprays at the Wally World, aren't you already dicing recklessly with Death?
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Yes, because a new antibiotic needs to be conserved to slow the development of drug resistance. That's why we need public money invested in the endeavor.
How do you propose to make that happen?

What does the death rate from bacterial infections have to be before it is able to tap into the billions spent on other feel good projects?
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
If you are buying your lavender aromatherapy sprays at the Wally World, aren't you already dicing recklessly with Death?
What would you recommend as a safe source?

I might amend that to say: "If you are buying aromatherapy sprays , aren't you already dicing recklessly with Death?"
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
How do you propose to make that happen?

What does the death rate from bacterial infections have to be before it is able to tap into the billions spent on other feel good projects?
We already do it to some degree. The research can take place in universities awarded grants to develop new vaccines.
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:46 PM   #10
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A review article on B pseudomallei; not yet a neglected tropical disease

Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
No money in it?
I am stepping outside of my comfort zone, but I suggest that the concept of an externality may be invoked with respect to developing new antibacterial or anti fungal compounds. A Science thread might not be the best place to explore what could be an interesting topic in its own right.

The authors of a paper in The Lancet wrote, "melioidosis is not officially classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD) by WHO...In this Personal View, we provide evidence in support of official recognition of melioidosis as an NTD." The 10-50% fatality level I mentioned in my OP jumped out at me. This organism is also considered a potential bioterrorism weapon. Here is a review article that gives some background.
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
What would you recommend as a safe source?
"Non-Fatal Aromatherapy-R-Us" gets pretty good online reviews
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Old 12th May 2022, 02:52 PM   #12
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The developers of pharmaceuticals, at least in the US, go where the money is.

Even if some university grant results in a viable product, there would need to be a sufficient consumer base to justify production.
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
The tragic death of a 5-year old boy was first thought to be from Covid-19. An autopsy showed that there had been a bacterial infection from the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. The disease is called melioidosis, and the source of the bacteria was found to be a product was a lavender aromatherapy spray. The product was sold at Walmart (a large discount store across the U.S.), and at least two other people were affected. The product was recalled. The MedPageToday story stated, "The Georgia boy and the Kansas woman both died from their infections. Geller said melioidosis usually has a 10% to 50% mortality rate." The CDC wrote, "Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals."

One of the reasons that I decided to start a new thread was to highlight how dangerous bacterial infections can be. IMO we are behind where we should be in developing new antibacterial compounds.
Yes, although I still think that phage therapy might end up being useful with modern technology.

Because they would co-evolve with the target bacteria population
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:03 PM   #14
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the antibacterial of last resort

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Yes, because a new antibiotic needs to be conserved to slow the development of drug resistance. That's why we need public money invested in the endeavor.
I had a brief conversation with a pharmaceutical executive one time, and I asked her why antibacterial development was so minimal. She asked me what I would do with a new antibacterial. Her answer was words to the effect of locking it in a safe and only using it when all else failed (to the best of my recollection).
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:05 PM   #15
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The classic history of Pseudomonas pseudomallei now called Burkholderia pseudomallei (cue music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgkIqU15WO0 ) is from the Vietnam war. Helicopter pilots used to fly low; just above the tree line as it reduced the risk of being hit by surface to air fire. But this threw up a lot of dust. The dust contained Pseudomonas (now Burkholderia) pseudomallei and there was a small epidemic of meliodosis in service personnel out of Vietnam. Pseudomonas pseudomallei is difficult to treat, high resistant to antibiotics. Also very unusually it can remain in the body for many years before causing ill health, leading to it being referred to as the 'Vietnam time bomb' because many vets developed the disease years after. I have only come across one case, a retired Vietnam veteran who had married an English girl before settling in Cambridge, it is memorable because this odd germ was grown from his blood and the petri dish was passed round in the microbiology lab because it looked like a Pseudomonas but smelt wrong. (Yes, bacteria have distinctive smells, Haemophilus smells of chocolate.) There was a bit of an issue because this is a highly pathogenic bacteria which was passed round like a ...

So a rare infection to acquire in the US or Europe, but common in South East Asia, and an unusual and hard to treat bacterium.
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:07 PM   #16
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Are you suggesting to offer lavender aromatherapy sprays to the suicide market? If that demographic is as thrifty as the Wal-Mart shopper, you can market it as cheaper than a gun and with a bonus pleasant scent

Eta: meant as response to Skeptical Greg, post 12. Posting while driving is an unreliable combination
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
I had a brief conversation with a pharmaceutical executive one time, and I asked her why antibacterial development was so minimal. She asked me what I would do with a new antibacterial. Her answer was words to the effect of locking it in a safe and only using it when all else failed (to the best of my recollection).
That is the big problem. If you have a really good new antibiotic that is effective against very resistant bacterium it will be the antibiotic of last resort, you will sell very little. Conserving these antibiotics for use when nothing else works is called antibiotic stewardship. The consequence is the antibiotic becomes very expensive per dose. We recently had a patient with a difficult to treat infection, that needed weeks of treatment, and one of the antibiotics was > £3,000 / week. New mechanisms of financing are being found where the company is paid even if the antibiotic isn't used, but ensures it is available if needed. The company needs to be rewarded for finding a drug that ideally will never be used.

Capitalism and antibiotic stewardship is not a successful combination.
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Capitalism and antibiotic stewardship is not a successful combination.
That sounds like what i was trying to say, and remains the short answer..
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Old 12th May 2022, 03:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
That is the big problem. If you have a really good new antibiotic that is effective against very resistant bacterium it will be the antibiotic of last resort, you will sell very little. Conserving these antibiotics for use when nothing else works is called antibiotic stewardship. The consequence is the antibiotic becomes very expensive per dose. We recently had a patient with a difficult to treat infection, that needed weeks of treatment, and one of the antibiotics was > £3,000 / week. New mechanisms of financing are being found where the company is paid even if the antibiotic isn't used, but ensures it is available if needed. The company needs to be rewarded for finding a drug that ideally will never be used.

Capitalism and antibiotic stewardship is not a successful combination.
And using them in livestock is really stupid.

Especially for growth promotion, so basically prophylactic to deal with low level infections from high stocking densities.
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Old 12th May 2022, 06:14 PM   #20
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Nightmare scenario...the reality deniers move on to general infectious disease denial.
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Old 12th May 2022, 06:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
The developers of pharmaceuticals, at least in the US, go where the money is.

Even if some university grant results in a viable product, there would need to be a sufficient consumer base to justify production.
While this is true, the US addressed this with flu vaccines by guaranteeing the drug producers a certain amount of product purchases if they weren't obtained with sales to the public.

Getting back to the thread topic there is some agency (federal I believe) that addresses drugs for rare diseases. I haven't looked at the website in a while but I know it exists.
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Old 12th May 2022, 07:36 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
The developers of pharmaceuticals, at least in the US, go where the money is.

Even if some university grant results in a viable product, there would need to be a sufficient consumer base to justify production.
There are various reasons why a private drug company would not want to develop a new anti-biotic
1. It takes many years
2. Probably will not work
3. Needs to be novel. A variation of an existing drug is even less likely to work
4. Very expensive
5. Even if everything works may not generate enough income to justify the huge $ invested.
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Old 12th May 2022, 08:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
....A variation of an existing drug is even less likely to work....
Maybe a little off topic but important information to share about the drug industry: Just an FYI: not necessarily with antibiotics but actually drug manufacturers often prefer to make a copy-cat drug to take a share of a known market rather than trying to develop a drug for a new market.* It's inconsistent with the capitalism myth that development of a better mousetrap gets you a market share of the mousetrap business. Instead it's better advertising they go for.

*When they do go to develop a new market, often it's for a disease you never knew you needed a med for.

There Go Those Drug Companies Inventing New Diseases Again (Forbes, you get 4 free articles/month before the paywall.)
Quote:
“There’s a substantial body of medical literature dating back to the early ‘90s about the practice known as ‘disease mongering.’ Pharmaceutical companies regularly pathologize everyday experiences, convince doctors that they are serious problems, tell a hypochondriacal public it needs help and offer the cure: a new drug.” ...

“Marketing for a drug can start seven to 10 years before they go on the market. Because it is illegal to promote a drug before it goes in the market, what they are promoting is the disease. That’s not illegal to do because there’s no regulation on creating diseases.”
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Old 12th May 2022, 08:39 PM   #24
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Here's a link to the rare diseases drugs I mentioned:

FDA: Developing Products for Rare Diseases & Conditions
Quote:
The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) mission is to advance the evaluation and development of products (drugs, biologics, devices, or medical foods) that demonstrate promise for the diagnosis and/or treatment of rare diseases or conditions. In fulfilling that task, OOPD evaluates scientific and clinical data submissions from sponsors to identify and designate products as promising for rare diseases and to further advance scientific development of such promising medical products. The office also works on rare disease issues with the medical and research communities, professional organizations, academia, governmental agencies, industry, and rare disease patient groups.

OOPD provides incentives for sponsors to develop products for rare diseases. The program has successfully enabled the development and marketing of over 600 drugs and biologic products for rare diseases since 1983.
It might be interesting for a drug company to develop a new antibiotic under the guise of developing a treatment for this rare bacterial infection.
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Old 13th May 2022, 08:24 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
And using them in livestock is really stupid.

Especially for growth promotion, so basically prophylactic to deal with low level infections from high stocking densities.
I went to a one world lecture (a campaign on the sensible use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine and industry), and one of the truly horrifying things is the quantity of antibiotics as effluent from antibiotic factories. One notorious case in China the level of the antibiotic (ciprofloxacin I think) in the river water the factory emptied its effluent into was therapeutic, the same level as it would be in your blood had you taken a tablet, they were pouring kilograms of the antibiotic daily into their waste water. Also it is worth remembering that most of the antibiotic you take in tablets or injections comes out when you go to the toilet, so the sewage pipes coming out of hospitals have some of the most resistant bugs anywhere because they are constantly exposed to a wide range of antibiotics.
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Old 13th May 2022, 08:46 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
The classic history of Pseudomonas pseudomallei now called Burkholderia pseudomallei (cue music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgkIqU15WO0 ) is from the Vietnam war. Helicopter pilots used to fly low; just above the tree line as it reduced the risk of being hit by surface to air fire. But this threw up a lot of dust. The dust contained Pseudomonas (now Burkholderia) pseudomallei and there was a small epidemic of meliodosis in service personnel out of Vietnam. Pseudomonas pseudomallei is difficult to treat, high resistant to antibiotics. Also very unusually it can remain in the body for many years before causing ill health, leading to it being referred to as the 'Vietnam time bomb' because many vets developed the disease years after. I have only come across one case, a retired Vietnam veteran who had married an English girl before settling in Cambridge, it is memorable because this odd germ was grown from his blood and the petri dish was passed round in the microbiology lab because it looked like a Pseudomonas but smelt wrong. (Yes, bacteria have distinctive smells, Haemophilus smells of chocolate.) There was a bit of an issue because this is a highly pathogenic bacteria which was passed round like a ...

So a rare infection to acquire in the US or Europe, but common in South East Asia, and an unusual and hard to treat bacterium.
If you think Haemophilus smell of chocolate you have a very weird sense of smell!


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Old 13th May 2022, 08:56 AM   #27
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But…but the free market solves every problem!
Why do you hate my freedom?!
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Old 13th May 2022, 09:00 AM   #28
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Well my takeaway here is that Wal-Mart is moving forward to kill America literally, rather than economically or by soul crushing.
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Old 14th May 2022, 06:26 AM   #29
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aromatherapy spray

I briefly looked up aromatherapy, and according to the Mayo Clinic, one may either just smell it or apply it to the skin. The original article called the product an aromatherapy spray; therefore, I infer that the route of infection was through the lungs.
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Old 17th May 2022, 02:21 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Well my takeaway here is that Wal-Mart is moving forward to kill America literally, rather than economically or by soul crushing.
Since we deal with science here, explain how Walmart even begins to harm America economically.

Perhaps we can take up the soul crushing over in Religion and Philosophy..
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:58 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Since we deal with science here, explain how Walmart even begins to harm America economically.

Perhaps we can take up the soul crushing over in Religion and Philosophy..
Since we deal with science here, break down the post:

Wal Mart is moving forward to Objective X, rather than Objective Y or Z.

Explain how Objective Y is being proposed as something that Wal Mart was even prepared to do.

I could have said "as opposed to pole dancing" as well. Doesn't mean pole dancing was already on the table. So to speak.

You're up.
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Old 18th May 2022, 01:12 PM   #32
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Makes perfect sense..
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