News

Antibiotic Resistance

  • 11.21.2020  |  Antibiotic resistance: a matter of time

    FINANCIAL TIMES | This edgy artsy 8-minute video takes us into the future, in 2050, where 10 million people die each year from drug-resistant infections and even simple cuts can have fatal consequences. Is this just science fiction or is this where the world is headed? The Financial Times, in this film production supported by Wellcome Trust, travels through time with artist Nina Dunn to see how we can stop the next global health crisis.

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  • 11.21.2020  |  Europe’s medicine cabinet is running out of new antibiotics

    GLOBAL CAUSE | An article sponsored by REPAIR takes a close look at UK and Sweden, who are pioneering innovative new subscription approaches to address the current market failures by using pull incentives to ensure we have a pipeline of drugs to address the antibiotic-resistant bacteria crisis.

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  • 10.25.2020  |  Antimicrobial Resistance

    NATURE | Nature Outlook has published a series of 10 articles examining Antimicrobial Resistance. As bacteria that cause infection adapt to withstand antibiotics, the potential for antimicrobial resistance to cause a global health crisis looms large. Scientists and policymakers are working together to find ways to fight back against this threat. The series includes an insightful article on the lack of financial incentives and the reasons why big pharma have left the R&D and market space.

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  • 10.11.2020  |  US National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, 2020-2025

    ASPR HHS | The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), 2020-2025, presents coordinated, strategic actions that the United States Government will take in the next five years to improve the health and wellbeing of all Americans by changing the course of antibiotic resistance. This Plan is based on the U.S. Government’s 2014 National Strategy for CARB, and builds on the first National Action Plan released in 2015 by expanding evidence-based activities that have already been shown to reduce antibiotic resistance, such as optimizing the use of antibiotics in human and animal health settings.

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  • 10.08.2020  |  Confronting antimicrobial resistance beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 US election

    THE LANCET | The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call that global collaboration is the most effective way to tackle global health threats. In 2020 and beyond, we cannot afford to ignore antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A coordinated One Health response is needed, with action from multisectoral and cross-sectoral stakeholders in human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, finance, environment, industry, and consumers, to address what is as much an environmental issue as an economic one. Through leadership and accountability, national governments can be greater than the sum of their parts.

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  • 09.19.2020  |  How to Stop the Superbugs: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could cause the next pandemic. Doctors need tools to fight them

    SLATE | The global toll of COVID-19 has been a dangerous reminder of how much damage an infectious disease can do and our pressing need for novel antimicrobials. Unless we proactively design a functioning market to attract the talent and investment required to build a new generation of antimicrobial therapies, our next pandemic risks being one of superbugs.

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  • 09.19.2020  |  Without Good Public Health Strategy, The Coronavirus Pandemic Could Make Antimicrobial Resistance Worse

    FORBES | While we need to focus efforts towards managing Covid-19 patients rationally, we also need to keep up our efforts to ensure optimal antimicrobial drug use. Dr. Rodney Rohde writes about how the Covid-19 pandemic can make antimicrobial resistance a bigger problem if health systems aren’t careful.

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  • 09.19.2020  |  Could Covid-19 be fuelling drug resistance?

    WELLCOME TRUST | One of the most worrying wider health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could be the rise of drug-resistant infections – which public health experts have been warning for decades. Gemma Buckland Merrett, Science Lead, Drug-Resistant Infections, at Wellcome, examines questions around the impact of COVID-19 on wider health issues such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria to shape better public health responses and limit long-term consequences

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  • 09.08.2020  |  Bad Bugs, No Drugs 2002-2020: Progress, Challenges, and Call to Action – An AMR movement is essential!

    NCBI | Drug-resistant infections can strike anyone—young or old, healthy or sick. Dr. Helen Boucher examines the challenges, progress made in the discovery and development of new antibiotics, and the steps taken in the US to reduce disincentives in the reimbursement system of new antibiotics. While reimbursement reform and the proposed DISARM Act are encouraging first steps, salvaging the antibiotic research and development infrastructure will require more effort. Long-term solutions such as Market Entry Rewards are gaining traction but need further work in order to be realized. A leading expert in the field, Dr. Boucher calls on all physicians to be a voice for patients, and urge action. They should advocate for prompt publishing of data and updating of guidelines and for availability of new drugs in their hospitals. Most of all, physicians must reach out to legislators in support of DISARM (https://www.idsociety.org/ActOnDISARM) and get their colleagues involved. AMR affects everyone and threatens all medical care. An AMR movement is essential!

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  • 09.03.2020  |  First US case of resistant bacterial meningitis noted

    CIDRAP | A new study in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society describes what is believed to be the first case of bacterial meningitis caused by beta-lactamase–producing, ciprofloxacin-resistant Neisseria meningitidis in the United States. The case occurred in January 2020 in a previously healthy 5-month-old Maryland boy who was treated in the emergency department at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. Although the boy was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and released after 7 days in the hospital, susceptibility testing of bacterial samples from the boy revealed resistance to five antibiotics—including penicillin and ciprofloxacin, which are typically used for treatment of people with confirmed N meningitidis infections and for prevention in those who’ve been in close contact with infected patients.

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  • 07.21.2020  |  Narrow-Spectrum Antibacterial Agents—Benefits and Challenges

    MDPI Antibiotics | For many years, both clinical and commercial factors have driven the development and use of broad-spectrum agents, with many positive results. However broad spectrum drugs can have an adverse effect on the intestinal microbiome. There is an increasing effort to develop narrow spectrum agents, as can be seen in the current pipeline and the growing number of narrow-spectrum and non-traditional agents being studied in response to the growth threat of widespread antibacterial resistance. This article co-authored by CARB-X Alliance Director Richard Alm, argues that despite the many challenges this type of research faces, this is encouraging and it is critical that it continues.

     

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  • 07.09.2020  |  New AMR Action Fund steps in to save collapsing antibiotic pipeline with pharmaceutical industry investment of US$1 billion

    AMR ACTION FUND | More than 20 biopharmaceutical companies announced the launch of the AMR Action Fund, a partnership that aims to bring 2-4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. The world urgently needs new antibiotics, but there are few in the pipeline because of a paradox: despite the huge societal costs of AMR, there is currently no viable market for new antibiotics. While the AMR Action Fund is an important step in supporting the clinical development of new antibiotics and addressing the challenge of AMR, policymakers across the globe must enact market-based reforms, including reimbursement reform and new pull incentives, to revitalize the antibiotics market and drive sustainable investments in antibiotic R&D. Until then, industry is taking action now to support the current pipeline of antibiotics.

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  • 04.23.2020  |  COVID-19 May Worsen the Antibiotic-Resistance Crisis

    WIRED | As the COVID-19 pandemic moves across the world, growing evidence suggests that it may drag a second slow-motion pandemic behind it. Even though COVID-19 is a viral illness not affected by antibiotics, early data from hospitals shows that most patients—more than 90 percent in some cohorts—are being treated with drugs to cure or protect against secondary infections during respiratory illnesses or hospitalization. As a result, COVID-19 could potentially whomp up antibiotic resistance, which is already a crisis, WIRED contributor Maryn McKenna writes. The vast international mobilization to do something about the new coronavirus—identify existing drugs, work up new treatments, achieve a vaccine—might paradoxically offer hope for antibiotic research. The hope is that policy makers might finally appreciate how vulnerable we all are to new viruses or bacterial infections, and the need to invest in new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in advance. In the context of COVID-19, antibiotics should be considered as important as protective gowns or facemasks. It is part of our defense for any pandemic situation.

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  • 04.22.2020  |  Drug-resistant superbugs: A global threat intensified by the fight against coronavirus

    THE CONVERSATION | With the world’s attention on COVID-19, Lori Burrows, Professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University in Canada, writes that now is a good time talk about another pandemic: antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the lessons that can be learned to better address AMR. AMR is a slower-moving pandemic than COVID-19, but one that is worsening every day. A recent report by the Council of Canadian Academies said that in 2018, more than a quarter of all infections in Canada were resistant to first-line drugs. In that one year alone, 5,400 people died in Canada as a direct result of resistant infections. Drug resistance bacteria is spreading every day, killing an estimated 700,000 people each year.

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  • 04.17.2020  |  Antibiotic treatment for COVID-19 complications could fuel resistant bacteria

    SCIENCE | There is rising concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could ultimately lead to a surge in antibiotic-resistant bacteria—a concern serious enough that the US Department of Defense (DOD) is assembling a group of at least 10 medical centers to study secondary bacterial and fungal infections in COVID-19 patients and the antibiotics being used to prevent them. Recent studies show that nearly all serious cases of COVID-19 are treated with antibiotics. Many COVID-19 patients die of secondary infections rather than the virus itself, growing evidence suggests. And there is evidence that some secondary infections are caused by drug-resistant bacteria.

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  • 04.17.2020  |  Recognizing the value of anti-infectious drugs

    REPAIR IMPACT FUND | The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major wakeup call for the world that our battle with infectious diseases is far from over. Drug-resistant bacteria are on a dangerous growth curve – a much slower one than COVID-19, but deadly none the less. Making matters worse, the business model for the development of new antibiotics is broken, and companies that have developed new treatments are going bankrupt. Alex Engel, Partner at Novo Holdings and Director of the REPAIR Impact Fund writes that it is urgent that we recognize the value of anti-infectives to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections, and he calls on governments to move forward with programs that reward value to human health and approval of novel antibiotics rather than the volume of use.

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  • 04.15.2020  |  How do you put a price on pull incentives for antibiotics? How do you value them? How much and why?

    AMR SOLUTIONS | Recent discussions about the UK pilot subscription model (newsletter and FAQ newsletter) and a new article by Chantal Morel and colleagues in Nature’s The Journal of Antibiotics on the idea of an Antibiotic Susceptibility Bonus raise the issue of how society should value a particular antibiotic for a pull incentive. In this article, John Rex and Kevin Outterson present a comprehensive summary of key references on ways to value antibiotics.

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  • 04.07.2020  |  COVID-19: Role of superinfections in novel coronavirus deaths highlights urgent need for sustainable development of new antibiotics

    ISDA GLOBAL HEALTH | To date, there are limited data on superinfections associated with the novel coronavirus SAR-CoV-2. A handful of published reports, however, largely from China, suggest that bacterial and fungal superinfections may occur in a significant percentage of patients with severe COVID-19, and that these infections are caused at least in some hospitals by antimicrobial-resistant, nosocomial pathogens. Based on these reports, Dr. Neil J. Clancy writes in an ISDA blog there are suggestions that SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to immune system dysregulation in severe infections, which may leave patients vulnerable to bacterial or fungal proliferation, and that critically ill patients, especially those in intensive care units or receiving mechanical ventilation, are at markedly increased risk for bacterial and fungal infections, independent of COVID-19.

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  • 03.23.2020  |  Antibiotic resistance : the hidden threat lurking behind COVID-19

    STAT | Already, some studies have found that 1 in 7 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has acquired a dangerous secondary bacterial infection, and 50% of patients who have died had such infections. The challenge of antibiotic resistance could become an enormous force of additional sickness and death across our health system as the toll of coronavirus pneumonia stretches critical care units beyond their capacity, warns former CDC director Julie Gerberding in this opinion piece.

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  • 03.13.2020  |  Responding to COVID-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic?

    NEJM | In this insightful commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Bill Gates writes that governments have a central leadership role to play not only in dealing with the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in creating a sustainable system to improve the way we respond to outbreaks in general, and to keep outbreaks from happening again. The long-term challenge — improving our ability to respond to outbreaks — isn’t new. Global health experts have been saying for years that another pandemic whose speed and severity rivaled those of the 1918 influenza epidemic was a matter not of if but of when. This article provides a roadmap to how society can meet the challenge.

     

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  • 03.13.2020  |  Coronavirus COVID-19 nears fatal tipping point when lungs are inflamed

    BLOOMBERG NEWS | The coronavirus causes little more than a cough if it stays in the nose, throat or lungs. In serious cases, the COVID-19 virus may also result in secondary bacterial infection, including infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. We need antibiotics in the toolkit to defeat the effects of COVID-19 and save lives.

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  • 02.24.2020  |  What Are Superbugs? Silent, Invisible Killer Can Be Squashed With Global Efforts For New Antibiotics

    INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES | The spread of superbugs could change modern medicine as we know it, as common infections and injuries once again become death sentences. Antimicrobials are essential to modern medicine. If antibiotics lose their efficacy, routine surgeries like hip replacements and treatments like chemo or radiation therapy will become too risky. Already, in India, more leukemia patients perish from bloodstream infections than from the cancer itself. Drug-resistant bacteria kill 700,000 people each year and unless scientists develop new treatments, drug-resistant microbes will kill many more every year. World leaders respond to this threat — before it’s too late. In this article, Kevin Outterson and John Rex call on the US, as a global leader in drug development, to take action. A first step would be to pass the Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms (DISARM) Act. They also call for the establishment of a system that would reward researchers who successfully develop new antibiotics. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a UK-commissioned global AMR analysis, recommends a market entry award of at least $1 billion for any company that brings a novel antimicrobial to market.

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  • 02.21.2020  |  Evaluating for-profit public benefit corporations as an additional structure for antibiotic development and commercialization

    SCIENCE DIRECT | Antibiotics are a key infrastructure underpinning modern medicine, but evolution will continue to undermine their effectiveness, requiring continuous investment to sustain antibiotic effectiveness. The antibiotic R&D ecosystem is in peril, moving towards collapse. Key stakeholders have identified pull incentives such as Market Entry Rewards or subscription models as the key long-term solution. If substantial pull incentives become possible, there is every reason to expect that for-profit companies will return to the antibiotic field. However, the political and financial will to develop such incentives may be difficult to muster in the timeframes needed to prevent further diminishment of antibiotic R&D, especially if large drug companies are seen as substantial beneficiaries of these taxpayer-funded pull incentives. Bridging solutions are required in the interim. This analysis, authored by Kevin Outterson and John Rex, explores potential solutions led by private actors, including (1) traditional for-profit companies; (2) non-profit enterprises; and (3) public benefit corporations with lower profit expectations, akin to a public utility. All face similar commercial struggles, but nonprofits and public benefit corporations can accept lower profit expectations.

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  • 02.21.2020  |  Sepsis is more common, costly and deadly than previously thought

    HHS | A new study by researchers from the US Department of Health and Human Services.has found that sepsis is more common and costly than previously understood. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s extreme response to an infection. The study shows that U.S. hospitals saw a 40 percent increase in the rate of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with sepsis over the past seven years, and in just 2018 had an estimated cost to Medicare of more than $41.5 billion. “Sepsis is a lethal and costly health threat affecting Americans’ lives and our economy, yet many Americans may have never heard of it,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Robert Kadlec. “Any infection can lead to sepsis, including infections caused by influenza or emerging diseases like coronaviruses, which makes sepsis a significant concern in public health emergencies.”

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  • 02.14.2020  |  MCR-1 colistin resistance gene identified in Wyoming hospital patient

    CDC and WDH | A urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria carrying the MCR-1 colistin resistance gene was identified in a Wyoming hospital patient in early 2019, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The patient had a history of recurrent UTIs. Admission urine culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing identified the infecting pathogen as carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase production. Further testing identified resistance to 16 antibiotics, as well as colistin, and identified a plasmid-mediated MCR-1 gene. It was not determined where the patient might have acquired the organism. The first US patient carrying MCR-1 was identified in Pennsylvania in July 2016, and since then MCR-1-carrying isolates have been identified in 20 other US states. Colistin is considered a last-resort antibiotic.

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  • 02.08.2020  |  Drugs From Bugs: Why Gates, Zuck And Benioff Think The Next Blockbusters Will Come From Inside Your Gut

    FORBES | A growing body of scientific research over the last 15 years has highlighted the crucial role the microbiome plays in human health. That new understanding could lead to breakthrough treatments for a huge range of illnesses, from digestive ailments and food allergies to cancer, serious infections and even autism. More than 50,000 scientific papers in the last five years have explored the microbiome’s effects. Various kinds of gut bacteria appear to stimulate or suppress immune responses in the body, while others seem to fight off disease-causing microbes. A groundswell of cutting-edge research has the potential to deliver a burst of new therapies that will vastly reduce human suffering—and generate huge paydays for the field’s pioneers. This article take at why some people are excited about the possibilities.

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  • 01.25.2020  |  The antimicrobial crisis: enough advocacy, more action

    THE LANCET | On the 30th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, The Lancet editorial board calls on governments and agencies to act to address the global threat of drug resistant bacteria.

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  • 01.23.2020  |  WHO Warns That Pipeline for New Antibiotics Is Running Dry

    NEW YORK TIMES | The World Health Organization has issued a fresh warning about the global threat of drug resistant infections. In two new reports — one that analyzed products being tested on patients and another that looked at therapies in the early stages of development — the WHO cited grim economic realities that have been strangling the few remaining companies working on the development of antimicrobial therapies.

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  • 01.17.2020  |  AMR Industry Alliance 2020 Progress Report: Successes and Setbacks in Fighting Superbugs

    AMR | The AMR Industry Alliance report provides a snapshot of the life science industry’s collective efforts in delivering on  commitments to tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Results from the Alliance’s survey of biotech, diagnostics, generic and large research-based biopharmaceutical companies are mixed. Positive results include sustained investment in early R&D and diagnostics for AMR-related products (including antibiotics, antifungals, vaccines) and strides in responsible manufacturing of antibiotics. Worryingly, low levels of investment for later and more costly stages of R&D for AMR-related products may mean that promising early-stage compounds will never reach patients unless governments put in place new mechanisms and incentives for antibiotic development.  

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  • 01.16.2020  |  Reframing the antimicrobial resistance crisis

    THE HILL | Antimicrobials are special among classes of pharmaceuticals for several reasons, including their use in the treatment and prevention of infections, and also as a vital component of the medical countermeasures to be used during a biological attack. In this opinion piece, authors Dr. Amesh A. Adalja and Greg Salmieri argue that the antimicrobial market is in crisis and governments need to radically change the philosophical and moral way they view the development and delivery of new products to patients. The treatment and control of infectious diseases is historically one of the most civilizing and life-enhancing activities undertaken by humans. It deserves to be recognized and monetarily valued as such.

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  • 01.14.2020  |  The Broken Business of Antibiotics – a WSJ podcast on economic problems faced by antibiotics companies

    WALL ST JOURNAL and GIMLET MEDIA | WSJ’s Denise Roland explains the complex challenges facing antibiotics companies attempting to bring urgently needed new antibiotics onto the market.  17 minutes with ads. The world desperately needs new antibiotics to tackle the rising threat of drug-resistant superbugs, but there is little reward for doing so.

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  • 01.12.2020  |  Estimating the Size of the U.S. Market for New Antibiotics with Activity against Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae

    AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MICROBIOLOGY | New antibiotics with activity against carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) improve outcomes of CRE-infected patients. However, companies developing these drugs have faced financial difficulties. Sales of ceftazidime-avibactam, meropenem-vaborbactam, and plazomicin in the United States totaled $101 million from February 2018 to January 2019. The authors estimate that the current annual U.S. market for new anti-CRE antibiotics is an estimated $289 million. Without new antibiotic development models and/or reimbursement reform, the majority of anti-CRE drugs will be commercially inviable.

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  • 01.08.2020  |  ContraFect stock price doubles after Pfizer buys $3 million stake in company

    BARRON’S | Like all publicly traded antibacterial product developers, ContraFect had a rough year in 2019. The biotech firm (ticker: CFRX), which is focused on discovering and developing so-called direct lytic agents to treat life-threatening infectious diseases, including staphylococcus that is resistant to antibiotics, saw its stock price fall to 27 cents in August from $1.53 at the end of 2018. ContraFect, which has two projects funded by CARB-X, got a boost in December when Pfizer took a $3-million stake in the company. Its stock price has now bucked the trend among antibacterial product developers and is rallying.

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  • 01.07.2020  |  Antibiotics need a special place in the US drug pricing debate

    STAT NEWS | In this commentary, Pew Charitable Trust’s Allan Coukell warns that the rise of antibiotic resistance is inevitable as pathogens evolve to resist every existing antibiotic, and that if we allow the pipeline to dwindle, the price won’t be just in dollars, it will also be in lives lost. He urges the US congress to move swiftly to enact a package of economic incentives ‘to reinvigorate the stagnant pipeline of antibiotics. He also urges the US government to move forward with the Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms (DISARM) Act of 2019, which could help ease the pressures working against new antibiotics in the US healthcare system. No single policy change will stem the exodus of investment from research on new antibiotics. But incentives such as these, combined with existing federal and public-private programs to defray research and development costs, are essential to turning the tide.

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  • 01.05.2020  |  Antibiotic Marketing and Pipeline Shortages in the Era of Stewardship: An Industry Perspective

    CONTAGIONLIVE | An industry overview of the economic and market challenges that antibiotics developers face, and the growing unmet medical need from drug-resistant bacterial infections.

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  • 01.05.2020  |  How to Combat Antibiotic Resistance: 5 Priorities for 2020

    PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS | PEW’s antibiotic-resistance team examines the latest CDC findings on drug-resistant infections in the US and proposes 5 ways to combat resistance in 2020. The CDC report underscores the urgency of the threat, and need to maintain the fight against superbugs

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