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White House Wants to Nearly Double Funding for Antibiotic Resistance Fight

President Obama wants to nearly double — to more than $1.2 billion — federal funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance.

The administration is expected to release its full 2016 budget proposal next week, but a fact sheet released Tuesday provided a blueprint for investments in fighting antibiotic resistance — an issue it referred to as “one of the most pressing public health issues facing the world today.”

More than $650 million for the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would support the development of new diagnostics and efforts to characterize resistance.

More than $280 million would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support antibiotic stewardship, outbreak surveillance, antibiotic use and resistance monitoring, and research and development related to combating antibiotic resistance.

Another $47 million for the Food and Drug Administration would support the evaluation of new antibacterial drugs for humans and animals.

Antibiotic research and surveillance funding at the Department of Agriculture would nearly quadruple to $77 million to help in finding alternatives to antibiotics, including improved management and animal care practices.

And the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense would receive $85 and $75 million, respectively, to address issues related to antibiotic resistance in healthcare settings.

Efforts to improve surveillance capabilities will include increasing the number of CDC’s Emerging Infections Program sites from 10 to 20, enabling the DoD to collect ongoing and enhanced antibiotic use and resistance data, establishing a network of regional laboratories to characterize emerging resistance and identify outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant organisms, and creating an Antibiotic Resistance Isolate Bank.

When it comes to antibiotic-resistant zoonotic and animal pathogens, the White House said that increasing their surveillance is “essential to understanding what bacteria may ultimately generate outbreaks that impact human and animal health.”

The administration estimates that, over the next five years, its efforts in dealing with resistance will reduce the incidence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections by 60 percent, reduce the incidence of Clostridium difficile infection and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections by 50 percent, reduce the incidence of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas infections acquired during hospitalization by 35 percent, and reduce the rate of multi-drug resistant Salmonella infections and pediatric and geriatric antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease by at least 25 percent.

“Judicious use of antibiotics is essential to slow the emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and extend the useful lifetime of effective antibiotics,” states the fact sheet. “Preserving the usefulness of antibiotic resources without compromising human or animal health requires coordination, cooperation, and engagement of healthcare providers, healthcare leaders, pharmaceutical companies, veterinarians, the agricultural and pet industries, and patients.”

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition praised the commitment to investing in stewardship, surveillance and developing new antibiotics, but remained critical of FDA’s Guidance for Industry #213, which asks animal pharmaceutical companies to remove growth-promotion claims from medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.

“If the FDA continues to allow industry to police itself under a voluntary policy, the misuse will continue to create superbugs that even new antibiotics may be unable to treat,” Slaughter said. “It doesn’t matter how many new antibiotics we develop — until we put limits on unnecessary agricultural antibiotic use, we will get the same results.”

© Food Safety News
  • Kurtis Engle

    Factory farm.