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Paper of the Quarter Award

Next deadline for submission is 30 September 2022

More information available hereunder

Winners 2022

Role of Epistasis in Amikacin, Kanamycin, Bedaquiline, and Clofazimine Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex

Published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Roger Vargas, Jr., Luca Freschi, Andrea Spitaleri, Sabira Tahseen, Ivan Barilar, Stefan Niemann, Paolo Miotto, Daniela Maria Cirillo, Claudio U. Köser, Maha R. Farhat

This study features two notable findings. First, antibiotic resistance to amikacin and kanamycin caused by eis c-14t was lost repeatedly in vivo, presumably owing to the fitness cost in the absence of antibiotic selection, which, to my knowledge, had not been published for MTBC to date. Second and more importantly, Roger made an important contribution to genotypic drug susceptibility testing (gDST). Even though gDST represents the only realistic option for scaling up DST globally, discordant DST results risk undermining the trust of some clinicians in gDST. Specifically, isolates that are found to be genotypically resistant but subsequently test phenotypically susceptible are most problematic. Roger showed that the presence of some mutations can completely counteract the effect of other mutations that would ordinarily confer resistance. Such epistatic interactions have to be considered for individual patient care as well as surveillance, particularly as this phenomenon can be frequent in some settings (e.g. in Lima, Peru, the frequency of bedaquiline and clofazimine resistance would be vastly overestimated if Rv0678 were interpreted without considered the loss-of-function mutations in the associated efflux pump). Indeed, WHO has already announced that analysing the impact of epistasis would be one of the goals of the ongoing work to update to its mutation catalogue for gDST (

Winners 2021

High overall mortality of Mycobacterium genavense infections and impact of antimycobacterial therapy: Systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis

Published in the Journal of Infection

Nils Wetzstein, Johanna Kessel, Tobias M. Bingold, Jonathan Carney, Christiana Graf, Benjamin F. Koch, Florian Meier, Justus Baumgarten, Claus P. Küpper-Tetzel, Yascha Khodamoradi, Timo Wolf, Gundolf Schüttfort, Maria J.G.T. Vehreschild, Thomas A. Wichelhaus, Christoph Stephan

Introduction: Mycobacterium genavense is a fastidious slow growing mycobacterium (SGM) that causes disseminated infections in immunocompromised hosts. It has been described in HIV-positive individuals and increasingly in patients without HIV. The infections are difficult to treat and the optimal antimy-cobacterial regimen is still unknown. 
Methods: An individual patient data meta-analysis was conducted aiming at including all hitherto published cases of infection with M. genavense. Clinical manifestations, microbiological data, dispositions and immunosuppression were recorded. Antimycobacterial therapies and mortality were analyzed by logistic regression and time-to-event analysis. 

Results: We included 223 patients with infection due to M. genavense published from 1992 to 2021. While the majority was HIV positive (n = 171, 76.7%), 52 patients were non-HIV-patients (23.3%), 36 of whom received immunosuppressive therapy (69%). We could confirm the bacterium's tropism for the gastroin-testinal tract with abdominal pain, hepato-/splenomegaly and abdominal lymphadenopathy being major clinical manifestations. More than 90% of patients received antimycobacterial therapy. The regimens consisted mainly of macrolides, rifamycins and ethambutol. Overall mortality was high, but in logistic regression and time-to-event analysis a macrolide containing regimen was associated with better outcomes. 

Conclusion: In this first individual patient data meta-analysis of infections with M. genavense we confirm its tropism for the gastrointestinal tract. The high overall mortality underlines the clinical relevance of infection with this bacterium for the individual patient. In addition, our data give a hint that a macrolide containing regimen is associated with better survival.

Entry Guidelines

Who is eligible?

  • First or last author of the publication, must be an ESM member at the time of the proposal and will be the recipient of the prize.

  • First or last author can only be awarded one prize a year.

  • In cases where there are co-first authors, it is sufficient for one of them to be an ESM member.

  • Submitted papers must have appeared within 6 months of the deadline, defined as the date of online publication

Each quarter, a prize of €500 will go to the first author (to be shared in the case of 2 first authors) and the winner will be asked to present their papers via a webinar during the month following the declaration of the winners. The presentations will be shown live on YouTube and will remain on the ESM website for those who could not watch them live. The 4 winners for each quarter will automatically be entered in the Paper of the Year Hugo David Award.

Proposals and selection process

  • The deadline for submitting publications will be 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December each year and the winner for each quarter will be announced within the month following the deadline. 

  • Proposals are to be emailed to the ESM office ( Please include an abstract along with a PDF copy of your paper.

  • The ESM Steering Committee will review the entries.