SNAP clinical trial celebrates 12-month milestone

On this day last year, the SNAP trial started recruitment. Twelve months on, more than 450 participants have joined the study, already making it the second largest clinical trial for Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in the world.

Computer-generated microscopy image of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

The Staphylococcus aureus Network Adaptive Platform Trial, or SNAP for short, is an Australian-led clinical trial involving infectious disease physicians, microbiologists, researchers and hospitals around the globe to identify the most effective treatment for patients with Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections.

Staphylococcus aureus, also known as Staph aureus or Golden Staph, is a common bacteria found on the skin and in the nose of one in three people. While it usually sits there harmlessly, it can sometimes cause skin infections, like boils and skin sores. Occasionally, it can spread more deeply and cause a bloodstream infection that inevitably leads to hospitalisation. Staph aureus bloodstream infection is one of the most serious bacterial infections worldwide.

In 2019, one million deaths were associated with Staph aureus infections. It was the leading bacterial cause of death in 135 countries and was associated with the most deaths in individuals older than 15 years, globally.

“In Australia it is estimated that approximatively 5,000 Staph aureus bloodstream infections occur every year, with all patients needing to be hospitalised and requiring a minimum of two weeks of intravenous antibiotics”,  Professor Steven Tong, of the Doherty Institute and Department of Infectious Diseases and co-lead investigator of the SNAP Trial, said.

Treatment of Staph aureus bloodstream infection involves prolonged treatment through intravenous drip, investigation or tests to find where the bacteria is lodged in the body and procedures or surgery to remove the source of the infection.

“Without antibiotics, about 80 per cent of those with a Staph aureus bloodstream infection may die. And even with antibiotics and the best available medical care today, 20 per cent of patients with Staph aureus bloodstream infections will be dead within 30 days after becoming infected,” Professor Tong added.

“With SNAP, we’re using cutting-edge trial methods to find the optimum treatment for Staph aureus bloodstream infection, aiming to save the most lives possible.”

SNAP is led from Australia by Professor Steven Tong (Doherty Institute and Department of Infectious Diseases) and Professor Joshua Davis (Hunter Medical Research Institute at the University of Newcastle), and is a global collaboration with investigators and participants from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and Israel. The central international coordinating team is based at the Doherty Institute.

In Australia, SNAP is funded by two large Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grants from the NHMRC and an International Clinical Trial Collaborations grant from the MRFF.

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