Old drugs, new tricks: Rejuvenating existing antibiotics to combat AMR

White House Wednesday

The week of November 13-19 is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, and members of Virginia's health care community, including the Virginia Department of Health, the Medical Society of Virginia, Health Quality Innovators, and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association are jointly supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Be Antibiotics Aware campaign.

"The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world", according to the CDC.

Antibiotic resistance is a challenge for health care providers and patients.

- There have been reports of genes resistant to the antibiotic colistin in pigs in China. This, in turn, limits the arsenal of antibiotics that healthcare professionals are able to use to tackle disease effectively.

Dentists are responsible for around three per cent of all antibiotics prescribed in Australia annually and the ADA is calling on its members to continue to use antibiotics judiciously, and to keep abreast of the latest research on this vital issue. Consumers are also driving the demand for meat raised without routine use of antibiotics, with some major food chains adopting "antibiotic-free" policies for their meat supplies.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE said: "Antibiotic resistance is a concern for us all".

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- Tyson Foods Inc, the largest chicken processor in the USA, has stopped using antibiotics to produce its retail line of chicken.

WATCH: Find out more about the campaignWill you be an Antibiotic Guardian? "They should be taken as prescribed, never saved later or shared with others".

Quoting from a recent AAAP position paper, Dougherty added, "Controlling and preventing disease reduces the number of poultry barns necessary; in addition, there is less use of electricity, water, corn and soybeans and propane when using an antibiotic tool to prevent... enteric diseases". For animal health, the best way to reduce antibiotic use is to promote farm management aimed at preventing infection through good practices in livestock production, aquaculture farming and crop production.

- There are few new antibiotics under development to combat AMR.

"However, it has been also highlighted that up to 50 per cent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed".

The WHO said their guidelines contribute directly to the aims of the Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015 and the Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Antimicrobial Resistance, adopted in 2016.

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