Researcher awarded grant for trial of oral antibiotic treatment for bone and joint infections

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute's Associate Professor Amanda Gwee has been awarded a grant for her work trialling oral antibiotic treatment for bone and joint infections in children.

Associate Professor Gwee was the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases 2020 Research Grant recipient, which is awarded annually to foster and encourage clinical infectious diseases research.

Her trial of entirely oral antibiotic treatment for bone and joint infections in children aims to provide the evidence for a paradigm shift away from the current therapeutic approach where all received intravenous antibiotics.

"This funding will allow us to be the first in the world to trial comparing an entirely oral antibiotic course to standard care for children with acute, uncomplicated bone and joint infections," Associate Professor Gwee said.

"This trial is expected to provide reliable evidence that entirely oral treatment is safe and effective and will likely result in a transformative development in antimicrobial treatment for a serious childhood infection."  

Bone and joint infections in children affect between 3 and 32 per 100,000 children in developed countries and up to 150 per 100,000 in resource-poor countries. 

Young children under five years of age and indigenous children are disproportionately affected. Of those affected, between 5 and 22 per cent suffer long-term complications such as pain, arthritis, deformity and delayed growth. 

"The current management for all children with a bone and joint infection, irrespective of their disease severity, is initial intravenous antibiotic treatment followed by an oral antibiotic course for a number of weeks," Associate Professor Gwee said.

"This has several disadvantages because intravenous treatment is invasive, associated with significant risks such as hospital-acquired infections, has higher health costs and is more inconvenient for the child and their family."