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New funding to fight antibiotic resistance (Includes interview and first-hand account)

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has been campaigning across the U.S. about the risks related to antibiotic-resistant infections for several years. Such infections affect more than two million U.S. citizens each year. The issue is not only of importance in one country for the growing menace of antibiotic resistance is, arguably, the single biggest threat faced by the world’s population. Moreover, emerging antimicrobial resistance and the growing shortage of effective antibiotic drugs is widely regarded as a crisis that jeopardizes patient safety and public health.

Senator Brown has welcomed the increased spending, although he also feels that more action is required. “To combat antibiotic resistance, it’s important that we leverage the best in medical expertise, stewardship, and technological innovation,” Brown has told Digital Journal.

He went on to add: “This unprecedented proposal underscores the importance of taking a comprehensive, wide-ranging approach to tackle this issue. I look forward to continuing to work with federal agencies, research institutions, and health care providers to combat this threat to America’s health.”

In 2014, Brown proposed the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act. The aim of this legislation was to boost the federal response to antibiotic resistance through promoting prevention and control. Other measures included: tracking drug-resistant bacteria; supporting enhanced research efforts; and improving the development, use, and stewardship of antibiotics. The Act would have provided an opportunity to bring multiple federal and non-governmental partners together to protect the public health from these drug-resistant bugs.

The Act, reported by Digital Journal, did not get through, despite the recent announcement of increased federal spending. Senator Brown argues that more preventative measures are needed. For this reason he plans to reintroduce similar legislation this year.

The STAAR Act would:

Promote prevention through public health partnerships at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments;
Track resistant bacteria by making data collection better and requiring better reporting;
Improve the use of antibiotics by educating health care facilities on appropriate antibiotic use;
Enhance leadership and accountability in antibiotic resistance by reauthorizing a task force and coordinating agency efforts;
Support research by directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with other agencies and experts to create a strategic plan to address the problem.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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