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Every five and a half minutes, an American dies from a hospital-acquired infection that resists antibiotic treatment. The problem is much worse than a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated; and, according to experts, efforts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “reboot” development of new and better antibiotics is failing to protect us.
A commentary on the situation in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, concludes that antibiotic resistance among hospital-acquired infections is already “at crisis levels.” The FDA’s “reboot” pledge to encourage the development of new antibiotics to battle this resistance “cannot come too soon” but “will not be enough,” these experts warn.
“With antibiotic-resistant microbes infecting more than 2 million Americans every year and killing more than 100,000 annually, we must act to find new weapons in the global battle against deadly Superbugs,” says Brad Spellberg, M.D., a researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) and an infectious disease specialist. “Our analysis found the rise in antibiotic resistance among three common forms of hospital-acquired infections is much greater than previously reported by the CDC based on older data, leading us to conclude that more than an FDA ‘reboot’ is needed. To encourage antibiotic development, the pharmaceutical industry must see that there is a path for a return on its investment in antibiotic development.”
In Spellberg’s view, none of the antibiotics being developed right now can cope with all the varieties of antibiotic infections that are killing people: “A complete overhaul of the approaches to resistance, disease and prevention could change the continuing upward trajectory of antibiotic resistant infections. To do anything less invites a bleak post-antibiotic future, in which infectious diseases once again reign supreme.”