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Antibiotic Resistance Poses ‘Catastrophic Threat’ To Public Health, England’s Top Health Official Warns In Report

In her first annual report, “England’s top health official said Monday that antibiotic resistance poses a ‘catastrophic threat’ to public health,” GlobalPost reports (DeFraia, 3/11). “Sally Davies … said global action is needed to fight antibiotic, or antimicrobial, resistance and fill a drug ‘discovery void’ by researching and developing new medicines to treat…

Health Officials Worried MDR-TB Will Become More Common Worldwide, In U.S.

The case of a Nepalese man with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) traveling through 13 countries before illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico, “first described by Betsy McKay at the Wall Street Journal, provides a window on a problem that health officials say is sure to arise more and more often,” NPR’s “Shots”…

U.S. News Examines Growing Threat Of Drug-Resistant TB

U.S. News & World Report examines the growing epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), highlighting a “new paper published earlier this week in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal warn[ing] that the first cases of ‘totally drug-resistant’ tuberculosis have been found in South Africa and that the disease is…

Antibiotics Not Being Used Properly, Leading To ‘Apocalyptic Scenario’ Of Drug-Resistant Infections, England’s Chief Medical Officer Says

“The rise in drug-resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England,” BBC News reports. Professor Dame Sally Davies “said bacteria were becoming resistant to current drugs and there were few antibiotics to replace them,” the news service adds (Gallagher, 1/24). “‘It is clear…

Widespread Use Of New TB Drug Faces Challenges, Science Reports

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the drug bedaquiline, which is used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and is the first TB drug to be approved in more than 40 years, “[b]ut the celebration was tempered because sobering challenges face the drug’s widescale use,” Science reports. Bedaquiline, which was granted licensing…

India, China Deny Claims Of Supplying Counterfeit Medications To Africa, Guardian Reports

“India has denied claims that it has exported large quantities of counterfeit medication to Africa, after the Guardian published a front-page exposé on the phenomenon,” the Guardian reports in a follow-up article. The original article “cited experts and NGO reports as saying that up to a third of anti-malarial drugs in Uganda and Tanzania might be fake or substandard, and the majority of them were manufactured in China and India,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The fake medications have led to deaths, prolonged illness and increased drug resistance in parts of east Africa, the article said.” According to the Guardian, “The Indian health ministry launched a huge campaign last month to check the quality of medication manufactured across the country.” In addition, “Chinese officials also denied the charges made in the report,” the newspaper notes, citing another article published on December 28 (Burke, 1/2).

More Work Ahead In TB Drug Development, Treatment Delivery

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the tuberculosis (TB) drug Sirturo, also known as bedaquiline, “appears to be just the first step in an exciting renaissance for TB drug development,” Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group (TAG), writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “Another new drug, delamanid, is currently in late clinical trials and has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency for review as a treatment for [multidrug-resistant (MDR)] TB,” he notes. Harrington concludes, “It’s an exciting time for TB treatment, but much more needs to be done and more resources are needed. We need to focus not only on the discovery and development of new drugs, but also on ensuring that news drugs are delivered to those who need them and in combinations that can prevent the emergence of new types of drug resistance” (12/28).

U.S. ‘Unprepared For’ Resurgence Of MDR-TB, Wall Street Journal Reports

“Multidrug-resistant [tuberculosis (TB)] is at epidemic proportions in some parts of the world — a growing problem the U.S. is surprisingly unprepared for,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Noting “[t]he U.S. beat back multidrug-resistant tuberculosis [MDR-TB] in the 1990s,” the newspaper continues, “Today, however, a new threat is emerging as drug resistance worsens abroad and far more dangerous strains develop and spread, including some that are all but untreatable with standard drugs.” The Wall Street Journal examines reasons behind a resurgence of MDR-TB in the U.S., treatment and control efforts, and how “funding and expertise are in decline” (12/19).

NPR, Inter Press Service Examine Efforts To Prevent Drug-Resistant Malaria

As part of its continuing coverage of malaria, NPR’s “Shots” blog features a story on counterfeit anti-malarial drugs, which “are among the most popular drugs to fake.” According to the blog, “[T]hese faux pharmaceuticals are particularly dangerous because malaria can kill a person in a matter of days,” and, if the drugs contain only a small amount of the real drug, they can contribute to the development of drug-resistant malaria parasites. “And that appears to be happening now in Southeast Asia with one of the most powerful anti-malarials, artemisinin,” the blog writes (Beaubien, 12/19).

NPR’s ‘Shots’ Blog Examines Malaria Drug Resistance In Southeast Asia

“Global efforts to combat malaria are under threat from new strains of drug-resistant malaria, which are cropping up in Southeast Asia,” particularly in Cambodia, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Thailand and Vietnam, NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. “Although the resistance is still limited to Southeast Asia, WHO officials worry that it could spill out of the region,” the blog notes. “Shots” includes a video report from NPR correspondent Jason Beaubien on efforts to properly treat the disease in Thailand (Beaubien/De La Cruz, 12/18).