Resistant 'Superbugs' Create Need for Novel Antibiotics

Teri Capriotti, DO, MSN, CRNP


Dermatology Nursing. 2007;19(1):65-70. 

In This Article

New Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Due to rising antibiotic resistance, pneumococcal infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat with antibacterial agents. A vaccine is the best strategy to prevent pneumococcal infection in susceptible individuals. There are now two types of pneumococcal vaccine: pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PneumovaxAE, Pnu-ImmuneAE) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PrevnarAE). Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine has been available since 1977 and has been recommended approximately every 5-10 years for older adults and certain at-risk populations. However, this vaccine has not been effective in children under 2 years of age. In February 2000, the FDA approved another form of this vaccine, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PrevnarAE). The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can prevent invasive pneumococcal disease, which is the cause of serious, often fatal, forms of pneumococcal infection, such as meningitis, pneumonia, and bacteremia (CDC, 2005).

In the past, the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine was formulated based on certain epidemic serotypes of S. pneumoniae. With the emergence of resistant strains of the organism, a change in the vaccine has been necessary. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been developed which can impart immunity against drug resistant strains of S. pneumoniae. Ex panded use of the newly formulated conjugate pneumococcal vaccine can provide protection against approximately 80% of resistant pneumococcal strains. This form of the vaccine is recommended for children under 2 years of age and other at-risk patient populations. Individuals with risk factors for pneumococcal infection can receive both forms of the vaccine (CDC, 2003).


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