Antibiotic Resistance News

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 3/28/15 Obama Seeks Funds to Double Funding to Fight Antibiotic ResistancePresident Obama on Friday urged Congress to double the funding to confront the danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, calling it a major public health issue that, if left unchecked, would “cause tens of thousands of deaths, millions of illnesses.”
 3/4/15 McDonald's Moving to Antibiotic-Free ChickenMcDonald’s said on Wednesday that it would phase out its use of chicken from birds treated with antibiotics “important to human medicine.”

Because the struggling fast-food chain is one of the largest buyers of chicken in the country – McDonald’s sells more chicken than beef – the move is likely to have a major impact on the way poultry is raised.

Endoscope involved in UCLA CRE contamination
Scope superbug: How long did the FDA know about problem?

Dr. John Allen, a gastroenterologist, had to morph into a detective when 10 of his patients came down with the exact same type of rare bacterial infection. Alarmed and mystified, he and his colleagues rushed to find the source of the highly lethal superbug.


If this sounds familiar, it's because duodeonoscopes were also the cause of recent infections and deaths at UCLA. But Allen's patients in Minnesota were infected in 1987 -- and now doctors and members of Congress say they're concerned the Food and Drug Administration might have missed the problem for decades.

 2/23/15 When Medical Devices Spread Superbugs

Germs that are resistant to antibiotics are cropping up with alarming frequency at American hospitals. A lethal “superbug” known as CRE infected seven patients at the Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center and killed two of them. The germs were apparently transmitted on inadequately sterilized medical scopes.

The episode brought an immediate reminder and warning from the Food and Drug Administration that the complex design of the instruments, known as duodenoscopes, makes them hard to clean after they are used. It is imperative that government agencies, medical institutions and the manufacturer take more aggressive steps to ensure sterilization and protect patients.

UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center
Superbug Linked to 2 Deaths at UCLA Hospital; 179 Potentially Exposed

Nearly 180 patients at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to potentially deadly bacteria from contaminated medical scopes, and two deaths have already been linked to the outbreak.

The two people who died are among seven patients that UCLA found were infected by the drug-resistant superbug known as CRE — a number that could grow as more patients get tested. The outbreak is the latest in a string of similar incidents across the country that has top health officials scrambling for a solution.  CRE bacteria has a mortality rate of nearly fifty percent.

 1/7/2015 Scientists Discover Potent Antibiotic, A Potential Weapon Against a Range of Diseases

Scientists have unveiled a potent new antibiotic they say can kill an array of germs without the bugs easily becoming resistant to it.  However, this discovery still leaves many lethal bacteria unchallenged.  It is one of the first major discoveries of its kind since 1987.  

 12/10/14 BBC News: Superbugs to kill 'more than cancer' by 2050

Drug resistant infections will kill an extra 10 million people a year worldwide - more than currently die from cancer - by 2050 unless action is taken, a study says. They are currently implicated in 700,000 deaths each year.

 12/8/14 Merck to Take on Superbugs with Cubist Pharma BuyMerck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said it would buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc (CBST.O) for $8.4 billion plus assumption of debt, giving the major drugmaker an entry into the market for drugs that combat so-called superbugs.

The deal is the latest sign that large pharmaceutical companies are turning their attention back to antibiotics after decades of low investment.

‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas ThreatA deadly epidemic that could have global implications is quietly sweeping India, and among its many victims are tens of thousands of newborns dying because once-miraculous cures no longer work.
Why Are There So Few New Drugs Invented Today?“If you read them now, the claims made for genomics in the 1990s sound a bit like predictions made in the 1950s for flying cars and anti-gravity devices,” Jack Scannell, an industry analyst, told me. But rather than speeding drug development, genomics may have slowed it down. So far it has produced fewer returns on greater investments.
Antibiotics Use in Animals Destined for Human Consumption SurgesReport Adds to Concerns Over Widespread Use of Drugs and Ability of Bacteria to Resist Treatments. The amount of antibiotics sold for use in cows, chickens and other animals raised for food increased 16% between 2009 and 2012, the U.S. government said on Thursday. The figure is heightening concerns over the widespread use of antibiotics and the resulting ability of bacteria to resist the drugs.
A New Attack on Antibiotic ResistanceAn executive order signed by President Obama on Sept. 18 directed federal agencies to carry out a new national strategy to curb misuse of antibiotics. It also created an interagency task force led by three cabinet secretaries that will submit a five-year action plan by Feb. 15, with timetables and metrics to measure impact. There are obviously many details still to be filled in.
India's Poor-Quality Drugs End Up in Africa, Study Finds

Two widely used antibiotics and two TB treatments, purportedly made in India, are more likely not to have enough of their key active ingredient when sold in Africa, compared with the same pills sold in countries such as Russia and China, according to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The findings suggest Indian drugmakers may be sending low-quality drugs to poorer countries, the authors wrote.

Inferior versions can be both fatal to the patients and promote drug resistance that undermines the future effectiveness of even good quality medicines,” researchers said in the report. “Making poor-quality antibacterials can be a lucrative business because the quality problem is hard to detect by end users.”

We Are Our BacteriaWe may think of ourselves as just human, but we’re really a mass of microorganisms housed in a human shell. Every person alive is host to about 100 trillion bacterial cells. They outnumber human cells 10 to one and account for 99.9 percent of the unique genes in the body.
My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene ExperimentIn the last few years, the microbiome (sometimes referred to as “the second genome”) has become a focus for the health conscious and for scientists alike. Studies like the Human Microbiome Project, a national enterprise to sequence bacterial DNA taken from 242 healthy Americans, have tagged 19 of our phyla (groupings of bacteria), each with thousands of distinct species. As Michael Pollan wrote in this magazine last year: “As a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota. . . . Whether any cures emerge from the exploration of the second genome, the implications of what has already been learned — for our sense of self, for our definition of health and for our attitude toward bacteria in general — are difficult to overstate.”
FDA Panel Recommends Two New AntibioticsA Food and Drug Administration advisory committee unanimously recommended the agency approve two new antibiotics Monday, while speakers debated whether the agency is taking the best approach to encouraging new drugs for drug-resistant infections.

The FDA's anti-infective drugs advisory committee recommended the approval of both Durata Therapeutics Inc.'s Dalvance and Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Sivextro.

FDA Reports that 25 of 26 Antibiotic Makers Will Comply with New Policies (for reducing antibiotic use in livestock) On March 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that 25 out of 26 drug companies that sell antibiotics for growth promotion “confirmed in writing their intent to engage with FDA as defined in Guidance #213.” FDA introduced this policy in final form Dec. 11, 2013, to curb antibiotic overuse and increase veterinary oversight on industrial farms.
How To Avert An Antibiotic Apocalypse

Want to protect your kids from drug-resistant bacteria? Open your  wallet.

Governments and insurance companies need to commit to paying 10 or 50 times more than they already do if industry is going to put resources into fighting the threat of superbugs.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that drug- resistant bacteria cause an extra two million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. “A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it,” Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said in a 2012 speech. “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”

Antibiotics in Animals Tied to Risk of Human InfectionA federal analysis of 30 antibiotics used in animal feed found that the majority of them were likely to be contributing to the growing problem of bacterial infections that are resistant to treatment in people, according to documents released Monday by a health advocacy group.

The analysis, conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and covering the years 2001 to 2010, was detailed in internal records that the nonprofit group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent litigation.

Drug Makers Tiptoe Back Into Antibiotic R&D As Superbugs Spread, Regulators Begin to Remove Roadblocks for New TreatmentsFor years drug companies have abandoned the search for new antibiotics, saying it isn't worth their while. Now some are getting back into the hunt.

After dismantling its antibiotics team in 1999, Switzerland's Roche Holding AG is recruiting a head of anti-infectives to rebuild its in-house expertise. Last year, Roche licensed an experimental new antibiotic from Polyphor Ltd., a biotechnology company, and is investing as much as $111...

Develop Viruses to Fight Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Viruses are hitchhikers that have learned to exploit vulnerabilities in cellular organisms in order to excel in their parasitic way of life. We could use viruses in our evolutionary struggle against resistant bacterial cells.


When Bacteria Can No Longer Be Stopped

The greatest medical miracle of the 20th century may become useless in the 21st century. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics, seen almost as soon as the medications were developed, has become a serious problem.
FDA Questions Safety of Antibacterial SoapsAfter years of mounting concerns that the antibacterial chemicals that go into everyday items like soap and toothpaste are doing more harm than good, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products altogether.
F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for LivestockThe Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, 12/4/13, put in place a major new policy to phase out the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens raised for meat, a practice that experts say has endangered human health by fueling the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance.
Imagining the Post Antibiotic Future
With antibiotics losing usefulness so quickly — and thus not making back the estimated $1 billion per drug it costs to create them — the pharmaceutical industry lost enthusiasm for making more. In 2004, there were only five new antibiotics in development, compared to more than 500 chronic-disease drugs for which resistance is not an issue — and which, unlike antibiotics, are taken for years, not days. Since then, resistant bugs have grown more numerous and by sharing DNA with each other, have become even tougher to treat with the few drugs that remain. In 2009, and again this year, researchers in Europe and the United States sounded the alarm over an ominous form of resistance known as CRE, for which only one antibiotic still works.

Unusually resistant CRE can share their most lethal qualities with other Bacteria
A Nightmare Health Scenario We Can Stop

Today’s interconnected world means we’re all linked by the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat – and the antibiotics we use.

Global travel speeds the rate at which infectious disease threats can be delivered to our doorstep. We’ve seen antibiotic resistance travel the globe. Take Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE. This really is a nightmare bacteria, resistant to most, and in some cases all, antibiotics. These microbes are especially deadly, and they can pass their resistance to other microbes through “jumping genes” or plasmids. One type of CRE was first seen in one U.S. state. Now it’s spread to 44. It’s also a recognized problem in other countries.

Antibiotic Resistance: How to Address the Current Crisis; Get Smart about Antibiotics WeekThis week, CDC is spreading the word about what patients can do to curb the threat of drug resistance. In observance of Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, the agency is emphasizing steps the public can take to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections and to slow the evolution of new strains of resistant bacteria. But Congress also needs to act in the fight against superbugs. 

Patient with highly resistant bacterial infection
Consumers Union: Give Thanks, Antibiotics Still Work (for Most of Us)Experts at the Centers for Disease Control are sounding an alarm. If we don't get serious about reducing the overuse of antibiotics, we face the end of the antibiotic era. For those who already die each year from resistant infections, the post-antibiotic era is here.

But it isn't too late. Emergency action to reduce overuse in both medicine and agriculture can go a long way towards preserving antibiotics for human health. The top Federal administrators of programs overseeing food and health care can jump on this without waiting on Congress. Tell them to act now!

How a New Law is Stimulating the Development of AntibioticsOn July 9, 2012, the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now, or GAIN, provisions were signed into law by President Barack Obama as part of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. This bipartisan legislation extends by five years the exclusivity period during which certain antibiotics—those that treat serious or life-threatening infections—can be sold without generic competition. This additional period of exclusivity increases the potential for profits from new antibiotics by giving innovative companies more time to recoup their investment costs.
Multidrug resistant Pseudomonas_aeruginosa
Deadly Pseudomonas Aeruoginosa Bacteria
Roche Enters Antibiotics Partnership with PolyphorThis partnership is worth up to $548 for an experimental drug to fight Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a leading cause of fatal bacterial infections in hospitals.

 Extra Care Curbs MRSA in HospitalsThe often life-threatening bacterial infections called MRSA, or resistant staph, don’t respond well to antibiotics, but a new study in Veterans Affairs hospitals suggests they respond to other infection control methods.
9/16/2013 Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Lead to 23,000 Deaths a Year, C.D.C. FindsFederal health officials reported Monday that at least two million Americans fall ill from antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year and that at least 23,000 die from those infections, putting a hard number on a growing public health threat. It was the first time that federal authorities quantified the effects of organisms that many antibiotics are powerless to fight.
TB has Human, not Animal, Origins

The origins of human tuberculosis have been traced back to hunter-gatherer groups in Africa 70,000 years ago, an international team of scientists say.

The research goes against common belief that TB originated in animals only 10,000 years ago and spread to humans.  

TB remains a major, resurgent global threat that killed 1.4 million people in 2011 alone.  If scientists can understand how it co-developed in humans they may find ways to stop it.

Antibiotic ApocalypseA terrible future could be on the horizon, a future which rips one of the greatest tools of medicine out of the hands of doctors.

A simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life. Luck will play a bigger role in your future than any doctor could.

The most basic operations - getting an appendix removed or a hip replacement - could become deadly.

Cancer treatments and organ transplants could kill you. Childbirth could once again become a deadly moment in a woman's life.

It's a future without antibiotics.