The human health costs of losing antibiotics as an effective treatment for infectious disease would be enormous. President Obama recognizes this and has made combating the challenge an administration priority.
The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is catching flack for recommending that Americans consider the environmental consequences of eating so many burgers. Pointing to climate change and other environmental effects of meat production, the panel suggested Americans contemplate the broader implications when choosing what to eat.
With few new antibiotics in the pipeline and bacterial resistance to existing products spreading, the World Health Organization, the Obama administration, and other governments around the world are looking for ways to stem the tide. As the recent Ebola outbreak made clear, pathogens do not respect borders, so keeping antibiotics effective for as long as possible is a global issue requiring global cooperation.
With the threat of antimicrobial resistance on the rise, we are heartened by President Barack Obama’s recent executive order that outlines a national strategy to combat drug resistance, including creation of an inter-agency task force to implement and monitor the plan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that up to 2 million Americans suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections each year and that 23,000 of them die.
This spring the WHO kicked off World Health Day with a foreboding slogan, “Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow,” to increase awareness of the dangers of drug resistance. Two months later, a new strand of E coli:0104 rapidly spread throughout thirteen countries in Europe and proved resistant to more than a dozen antibiotics.
Drug resistance, a neglected but increasingly urgent problem, receives some much-needed attention this week as the focus of this year’s World Health Day, also dubbed Antimicrobial Resistance Day, on Thursday, April 7.
As some of you may know, CGD’s Drug Resistance Working Group released a report this summer, providing a comprehensive examination of drug resistance—across different diseases, geographies, and stakeholders. The report highlights alarmingly high rates of drug resistance throughout the world and warns of a growing public health crisis as more and more drugs lose their efficacy.
A new research study by Hoare et al in PLoS (ungated) projects that, within ten years after countries attain universal access to antiretroviral treatment for AIDS, one fifth of all patients starting treatment will never have a chance to benefit from the least-expensive and least-toxic treatments, because their initial infection will be a drug resistant strain of HIV.