Report by CDC details today’s drug-resistant health threats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has in the last week released a landmark report entitled “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013” which presents for the first time a snapshot of the burden and threats posed by antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. As well as identifying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the CDC have also identified Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) among the three bacteria classified as concerning threats, despite there having only been thirteen cases reported to date.

The report also notes that “whist invasive MRSA infections in healthcare
settings appear to be declining…the rates of MRSA infections have increased
rapidly among the general population (people who have not recently received
care in a healthcare setting).” demonstrating that the problem has now
spread out of hospitals into the general community and is a growing
problem.

Dr Bill Love, CEO of Destiny Pharma said “The CDC report emphasises just how important antibiotic-resistance is becoming, particularly in the US. Whilst the report rightly focuses on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the problem of healthcare-associated infections is not limited to bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant and the CDC report highlights that Staphylococcus bacteria, of which MRSA is a sub-population, are one of the most common causes of healthcare-associated infections”.

In fact, recent data by Public Health England (formerly the Health Protection Agency) demonstrated that whist hospital bacteraemia (bacterial infection of the bloodstream) caused by MRSA is slowly decreasing, the number of bacteraemias caused by methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) has remained constant and is now almost tenfold more prevalent than MRSA infections. This is hardly surprising as studies show that about one in three (33%) people carry MSSA in their nose, whilst only two in 100 (2%) people carry MRSA. The potential for further resistance to emerge, particularly outside of the hospital environment is therefore significant and I welcome this report from the CDC

UK Government publish strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance between 2013 and 2018

On the 10th September, the UK government published its 5 year antimicrobial strategy document “UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018”, which stated that there are few public health issues of greater importance than antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in terms of impact on society. The strategy document follows on the heels of the report by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who in March warned that the risk posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria which have the potential to cause infections which are untreatable pose a “catastrophic” threat to the population. In her report Dame Sally noted that “Antimicrobial resistance is a very real threat. If we have no suitable antibiotics to treat infection, minor surgery and routine operations could become high risk procedures”.

All of the recommendations on antimicrobial resistance made in the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report have been accepted and acted on, including ongoing work to add antimicrobial resistance to the Government’s long-term risk register, the National Security Risk Assessment.

The UK Government also moved quickly to announce that the Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology had agreed to hold an enquiry into antimicrobial resistance and that it was already seeking written submissions.

Dr Bill Love, CEO of Destiny Pharma said “Following on so soon from the
report by the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, the publication
of the “UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018″
document by the Department of Health and DEFRA and the review by the
Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology demonstrates just
how seriously the UK government is taking the threat of antimicrobial
resistance and I believe that this will result in positive public:private
partnerships seeking to address the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance”