December 25th, 2016

Ebola Vaccine, a New Use for Listerine, USPSTF on HSV, Nether Grooming, and More: A Christmas and Hanukkah Overlap ID Link-o-Rama

A few notable ID stories out there for this remarkable convergence in our Judeo-Christian holiday calendar:

Finally, it’s been a tough year for giants in music, especially if you’re a fan of a certain age. We lost Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Keith Emerson, Sir George Martin … and today, George Michael.

Here’s a somewhat less-famous song of his (certainly less flashy — here if you want that), with a nice late-Beatles/John Lennon quality to it, and lyrics quite appropriate to the times. Enjoy.

4 Responses to “Ebola Vaccine, a New Use for Listerine, USPSTF on HSV, Nether Grooming, and More: A Christmas and Hanukkah Overlap ID Link-o-Rama”

  1. Loretta S says:

    When I read about the Listerine study, I immediately thought of a group of people we see a lot in primary care: those with recurrent Streptococcal (Group A) pharyngitis. Very frustrating for both patient and practitioner. If Listerine can significantly reduce the bacterial load of N. gonorrhoeae, maybe there is evidence it can kill off S. pyogenes as well. A Pubmed search turns up a bunch of studies evaluating Listerine’s (and other mouthwashes’) effectiveness against various strains of Streptococcus, mainly S. mutans. I came up with a couple that were directly on-point regarding S. pyogenes (both from the late 1990s). But the results gave me some hope.

    So in the “what could it hurt” vein of thinking, it may worth a try to have patients with recurrent Strep pharyngitis gargle with Listerine daily. The barrier to patient adherence, of course, is the well known Listerine BURN. Lordy, I can barely hold full-strength Listerine in my mouth for more than a few seconds! In the pharyngeal gonorrhea study, dilutions up to 1:4 were effective in vitro, but it appears the RCT arm of the study used full-strength Listerine. (Correct me if I am wrong.) Now that I think of it, I think there’s another study in there somewhere.

    Thanks, as always, for your Link-O-Ramas, Paul. They are great quick summaries of important ID news, and I always learn a lot from them.

    Agree with this being a bad year for music. I would add Glenn Frey to that list.

  2. Loretta S says:

    P.S. Just read the article about phage therapy. It was incredibly exciting and fascinating to read. Thanks again, Paul

  3. Steven says:

    Not just Keith Emerson, but Greg Lake too. Carl Palmer must be very nervous.

  4. Jon Blum says:

    Interesting that two of these links discussed treatments older than anyone reading them.

    The Listerine study has received more misleading press than it deserved. As the authors clearly acknowledge, they only showed a short-term effect; we have no way to know if anybody was actually cured. Unfortunately, the headlines delivered the message “Listerine kills gonorrhea” or something to that effect, which may lead people to rely on something ineffective. Sometimes people are told just enough to hurt themselves.

    Phage therapy has been the “next big thing” for decades. It has great appeal, but many technical obstacles, and serious marketability problems. Narrow-spectrum agents are not appealing to the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps the increasing rate of untreatable gram-negative infections will rekindle interest.

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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