Proposed U.S. funding cuts threaten progress on antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is an accelerating public health crisis that affects nations worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people in the United States acquire antibiotic-resistant infections each year, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths a year. Not only does this resistance kill patients, but it also threatens national security and reduces the safety of medical procedures necessary to save lives.

The CDC explains how antibiotic resistance occurs.

In the past two years, health experts from around the world have worked to develop against the threat of antimicrobial resistance. These leaders have emphasized the importance of fostering antibiotic research and development, and have urged the prudent use of antibiotics and infection prevention to prevent antimicrobial resistance.

 A recently published commentary discussed the effects of proposed U.S. funding cuts on the progress of efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance.  William Powderly, MD, the J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine and Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health, is a co-author of this perspective, written by leading U.S. infectious diseases experts.

There has been notable progress in fighting antimicrobial resistance throughout the world.  “So far, 67 countries have developed national action plans, 43 countries have enrolled in the Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System, and participants from 35 countries have been trained in a new method for monitoring antibiotic consumption.”

However, this growth is threatened by the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts. This lack of funding would reverse the progress made by health experts to tackle antimicrobial resistance globally. These cuts would decrease support in the development of new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, and thus pose even more threats to public health.

Given the severity of antimicrobial resistance, the authors suggest that the United States must continue to invest in research and public health efforts to successfully combat this threat and have urged Congress to reject the funding cuts proposed by the administration.

The CDC outlines the four core actions necessary to fight antimicrobial resistance.

Read the full article published on September 5, 2017 in Annals of Internal Medicine.