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Without Action To Curb Antibiotic Resistance, Some Diseases May Once Again Become Untreatable

In this Atlantic Magazine opinion piece, Megan McArdle, senior editor at the Atlantic, echoes a warning by the FDA issued in 2001 which stated, “Unless antibiotic resistance problems are detected as they emerge, and actions are taken to contain them, the world could be faced with previously treatable diseases that have again become untreatable, as in the days before antibiotics were developed,” .

TB Vaccine Candidate Shows Early Potential In Mice

Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Colorado State University report in the September 4 issue of Nature Medicine that “[a] potential vaccine against tuberculosis [TB] has been found to completely eliminate tuberculosis bacteria from infected tissues in some mice,” according to a HHMI press release. “The vaccine was created with a strain of bacteria that, due to the absence of a few genes, are unable to avoid its host’s first-line immune response,” the release states, adding, “Once this first-line defense has been activated, it triggers the more specific immune response that can protect against future infections” (9/4). A spokesperson for the campaign group TB Alert told BBC News, “These are interesting experiments but it is too early to tell what impact they will have on the development of a safe and effective vaccine,” the news service reports (Gallagher, 9/4).

Ancient Antibiotic Resistance Findings Leads Experts To Stress Need To Use Antibiotics Sparingly

“An analysis of 30,000-year-old bacteria whose DNA has been recovered from the Yukon permafrost shows that they were able to resist antibiotics,” providing “the first direct evidence that antibiotic resistance is a widespread natural phenomenon that preceded the modern medical use of antibiotics,” according to a study in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, the New York Times reports.

Cost Of Second-Line ARVs A 'Huge Barrier To Care' In Resource-Poor Countries

In this U.N. Dispatch blog post, Mark Leon Goldberg, managing editor of the blog, examines the costs of second-line antiretroviral treatments (ARVs), which “are several orders of magnitude more expensive than traditional, first-line ARV treatments” and are a “huge barrier to providing care” for resource-poor countries. He writes of “a huge gap in the way governments and donors have historically approached people living with HIV,” adding that “as more people access first-line treatment, there will be more opportunities for people to develop resistance to that first line. Donors and governments in the developing world simply can’t afford that kind of outlay.”

New Quick Malaria Diagnostic Test May Help Reduce Overtreatment

“Health workers often treat patients for malaria even when a test indicates a different cause of the illness,” a behavior seen across sub-Saharan Africa “that worries many health experts,” PRI’s The World reports. “Prescribing malaria medication to patients who don’t need it wastes precious resources in a country already dealing with drug shortages … leav[ing] patients untreated for the real cause of their sickness. And it can lead to drug resistance, making malaria parasites harder to eliminate when people really do contract the disease,” according to The World.

MSF Warns Global Shortage Of Drug-Resistant TB Treatment Likely

As countries increase the use of the GeneXpert test, a two-hour molecular TB test released in 2010, “enabl[ing] them to diagnose more patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), a worldwide shortage of the drugs to treat these patients is likely, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warns,” according to PlusNews.

Bayer Healthcare To Provide Over 600,000 Moxifloxacin Tablets To Fight MDR-TB In China

Bayer Healthcare announced on Monday it “has agreed to support the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop TB Partnership in the fight against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) by making 620,000 tablets of the antibiotic moxifloxacin available to WHO,” according to a Bayer press release. The WHO will provide the antibiotics to China’s…

Scientists Say Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella Strain May Spread Worldwide

“Scientists have identified an emerging ‘superbug’ strain of salmonella that is highly resistant to the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, or Cipro, often used for severe salmonella infections, and say they fear it may spread around the world,” according to a study published online Tuesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/3).

Antibiotic Resistance Is Not A Priority In The U.S.

Author and journalist Maryn McKenna in her “Superbug” blog on Wired.com examines U.S. spending on drug-resistant pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). She examines data presented by Eli Perencevich of the University of Iowa and colleagues at the World HAI Forum, which looked at how much of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ budget went to the problem of drug-resistant diseases versus other infectious diseases. “They found the answer to be: Not very much,” she writes.