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Matthew Burns

Matthew Burns, age 33, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child, and for years experienced repeated lung infections. When the need for intravenous therapy and oxygen became more frequent, he received a lung transplant, a lifesaving opportunity for hope and healing. But a transplant surgery that might typically require a one-month hospital stay, turned into six months when Matthew faced sepsis, a blood infection that progressed to septic shock.

“None of the drugs that we had tried, for literally decades were not working anymore, and I was at a precarious point. The sepsis was what was going to take me out. Dr. David van Duin had been reading about a new drug that had not yet been approved. He came to us with the paperwork to get it under compassionate care.”

The drug, which was initially studied in patients with urinary tract infections, came with warnings, and there was not a lot of experience treating patients with infections similar to Matthew’s lung infection. Still, the drug treated the rare bacterial infection, and Matthew started to feel better and breath better.

After being ill for months, Matthew was given a second chance at life. And just being able to do the normal activities are what brings him the most joy.

“A lot of people might want to set goals, to do things like run a marathon. But for me, it’s about being able to go about my daily activities, and to not worry, that matters most. There were friends that I never got to see because it was such a hassle to have to bring my oxygen and nebulizers with me.  Not anymore.”

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when pathogens change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat, which increases the risk of severe illness and death. Researchers in infectious diseases are focused on understanding these changing bacteria sources, improving diagnosis and identifying better treatment approaches to infections. In this testimonial, a patient was able to receive a drug that had not yet been approved. Find the study here