Increasing Awareness of Antibiotic Resistance

Research!America

Antibiotic resistance (also known as anti-microbial resistance, or AMR) is a growing public health threat. In a recent national opinion survey, over 80% of Americans said they are concerned that antibiotic resistance will make infections more difficult or impossible to treat, and could even become deadly.  However, when it comes to the details, survey data indicated that few are aware of what can be done to slow the progression of antibiotic resistance. Therefore, in honor of Antibiotics Awareness Week, Research!America hosted a guest blog series to highlight the work of some amazing initiatives that are leading the crusade against anti-microbial resistance.

To provide the academic perspective, Laura Rogers, Director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of the Milken Institute School of Public health reported on how ARAC is using an interdisciplinary approach to study antibiotic resistance. She noted that their team of scientists, communicators, clinicians and policy experts are currently working to identify the main causes of antibiotic resistance both in people and in the food supply. She encourages all people to be vigilant about how their food suppliers use antibiotics, and for policy makers to hold the food industry accountable for their role in antibiotics.

In the second installment, Dr. Jill Inverso, Vice President of Global Medical Affairs and Anti-Infectives at Pfizer, discussed actions Pfizer is taking to prevent antimicrobial resistance at the industry level. She highlighted the importance of the AMR Industry Alliance, which was created to find sustainable solutions to reduce the effects of antimicrobial resistance, and noted that action is already being taken, as evidenced by the “Industry Roadmap to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance.” Additionally, Dr. Inverso provided steps that anyone can take to reduce the overall effects of antimicrobial resistance, including practicing good hygiene, keeping up with regular vaccines, and not asking for antibiotics to treat a viral infection, such as the cold or flu.

The third installment featured the research perspective of antibiotic resistance, authored by Dr. Hillary Babcock, president-elect of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). She emphasized the power of research to provide evidence based guidelines to prevent the spread of microbiomes. However, she noted that most research on preventing the rise of antibiotic resistant infections has been conducted in a hospital setting, and therefore, further research is needed to explore best practices in urgent care, outpatient, and nursing homes. She also highlighted the importance of stewardship, or supervising how antibiotics are prescribed and used.

The final installment came from Michael Craig, Senior Advisor for Antibiotic Resistance for the Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He highlighted the CDC’s AMR challenge, a collaborative initiative created to engage leaders around the world to commit to making a change using a OneHealth approach. He also remarked on the great strides the CDC is taking to fund research, noting that by the end of this year, the CDC will have funded its largest research portfolio ever to explore all potential contributors to antibiotic resistance.

Research!America is thankful to all those who contributed to this blog series, as well as to all those who read and shared these blogs. As the year comes to a close, take a moment to think about how you can support and contribute to these efforts!

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
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