Battling Drug-Resistant Superbugs
Can We Win?

Summary

The CDC estimates that at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and at least 23,000 people die annually from these infections. Additional risks are posed from other types of organisms once sensitive to antimicrobial medicines and now resistant. This Forum event examined the public health menace posed by antimicrobial resistance and the steps to be undertaken to fight the superbugs.

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Presented in Collaboration with PRI’s The World and WGBH

Background Articles

Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/STEEX

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    Sylvia English: How many companies are still actively producing new antibiotics?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    LaurenMasterson: Do you think that if money is spent on R&D for new antibiotics that patients and providers alike are willing to shoulder the cost like they would other drugs? The industry seems to be trending towards producing specialty medications (biosimilars)

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    Bonnie Smith: Why has the FDA been so slow at regulating non prescription antibiotic use on farms and availability of antibiotics to lay people without perscriptions?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    drsmitherman: I would love to know whether the panel believes that we can extend the effectiveness of currently available antibiotics by implementing drug cycling strategies over time to reduce selective pressure?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    drsmitherman: And also whether there are any natural avenues for novel antibacterial agents?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    Will Donovan: Should we be focusing more on prevention techniques rather than development of new antibiotics

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    drsmitherman: Do the panel think that the inclusion of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan in soaps and detergents is compounding the problem and what would their recommendation be?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    Anahi Dreser: What does the panel think are research priorities in middle income countries to tackle antibiotic resistance?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM CHATROLL

    drsmitherman: Given that antibiotics were originally isolated from bacteria, are there other organisms that naturally produce antibiotics that we could isolate?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Can a person become less resistant, or pro-actively remedy drug resistance to antibiotics?

    Will it lessen over time? Thank you, Ellie Ramsey

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    What are the top three to five things (policies, laws, etc.) that states can do to battle drug-resistance?
    Thank you,
    Patrick Welch
    Office of Senator Jerry Hill

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    In my academic building in a Boston area School of Public Health, we still have the antibacterial solution dispensers right at the elevators. I heard that the Boston hospitals are now suggesting that hand washing is the best way to protect the patients and physicians. Is hand washing better than the anti-bacterial solutions available in dispensers? Do the antibacterial solutions create superbugs?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Question. Do you think the emphasis on handgels which do not seem to eradicate clostridium has been a factor in the increase in c difficile infections?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Are there two specific sides in the issue of antibiotic resistance? As in a side for more and less antibiotic use? Which side would you fall on?
    Thank you,
    Mia Skaggs

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    It is well recognized that one part of the equation is a lack of development of new antibiotics. This is not because of a lack of candidate molecules but more because antibiotics are not attractive for multinational pharmaceutical companies to develop and bring to market. That is a very expensive and time consuming process, but drug companies will only have a few years to obtain their return on investment. This results in promotion of the drugs by the sales force within the few years they have patent protection. Appropriate use and inappropriate use is productive for the pharmaceutical company and there is no economic incentive to delaying the obsolesce beyond the patent protection period.
    Is there no way at the policy level, that the preservation of antibiotics cannot be economically incentivized by changing patent rules and laws for these agents?

    Bruce Dalton, BScPhm, PharmD
    Pharmacy Clinical Practice Leader, Infectious Diseases,
    Alberta Health Services, Calgary Zone

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Do the panel believe that cycling of antibiotics over time might reduce the selective pressure and extend effectiveness?

    Marina G. Smitherman, D.Phil, MPH

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    So far this discussion has been focused solely on antibiotic use. Plant/herb based solutions have been used and proven effective, both in the past and currently, to fight bacterial, as well as viral infections. At this point, the bacteria do not seem to have developed resistance to natural ‘products’. I understand why this may not be financially worthy for some companies to pursue this, unless they could control the market (NOT wanted). But, why is this not explored to a greater degree by the CDC?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Sorry, joining this a little late, but any thoughts about the fact that 80% of antibiotics are being used in the agricultural industry due to poor sanitary condition under which livestock are living?

    Thanks.

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    What is planned and now underway to reduce the use of antibiotics in concentrated (industrial) farming?
    What is being done to reduce antibiotic resistant bacteria from entering raw wastewater from point and nonpoint sources?

    Janine M. H. Selendy, Chairman, President, and Publisher, Horizon International, Yale University