Newsletter Vol. 29 No. 3

New Reports on Antimicrobial Resistance

New cleanser may help reverse antibiotic resistance

Dr. Udi Qimron of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has developed a liquid solution based on specially designed bacteriophages to help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteriophages are engineered to infect bacteria and transfer a dominant gene called rpsL that confers renewed sensitivity to certain antibiotics. After pre-clinical animal trials, this cost-effective tellurite compound can then be added to cleaning supplies to be used in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Edgar R, Friedman N, Molshanski-Mor S, et al. (2011) Reversing bacterial resistance to antibiotics by phage-mediated delivery of dominant sensitive genes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Advance online publication


European Commission action plan against the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance

The European Commission (EC) recently unveiled a 12-point action plan against antimicrobial resistance. European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli states: “We need to take swift and determined action if we do not want to lose antimicrobial medicines as essential treatment against bacterial infections in both humans and animals. The twelve concrete actions for the next five years, that we present today, could help limit the spread of anti-microbial resistance and help develop new anti-microbial treatment. Their success requires joined efforts from the EU, the Member States, healthcare professionals, industry, farmers and many others.”

The twelve points of action:
1. Improve awareness raising on the appropriate use of antimicrobials
2. Strengthen EU law on veterinary medicines and on medicated feed
3. Introduce recommendations for prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine, including follow-up reports
4. Strengthen infection prevention and control in hospitals, clinics, etc.
5. Introduce legal tools to tighten prevention and control of infections in animals in the new EU Animal Health Law
6. Promote unprecedented collaboration to bring new antimicrobials to patients
7. Promote efforts to analyse the need for new antibiotics in veterinary medicine
8. Develop and/or strengthen multilateral and bilateral commitments for the prevention and control of AMR
9. Strengthen surveillance systems on AMR and antimicrobial consumption in human medicines
10. Strengthen surveillance systems on AMR and antimicrobial consumption in animal medicines
11. Reinforce and co-ordinate research
12. Improve communication on AMR to the public

(2011, November 22). Antibiotic resistance marching across Europe. Nature News. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from


Visualizing the progression of antibiotic resistance

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) created an interactive map visualizing antibiotic use and highlighting trends in outpatient prescribing in the US. In 2007 the average number of dispensed outpatient antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 inhabitants at the national level was 858, or 0.86 prescriptions per person. There are large regional variations in utilization rates, ranging from 0.55 dispensed prescriptions per person in Alaska to 1.22 dispensed prescriptions per person in West Virginia. All classes of prescribed antibiotics follow a common regional pattern with states in and around the East South Central region (West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana) getting nearly twice as many prescriptions as Pacific states, and more than 15% of all use nationally. Try using ResistanceMap interactively.

(2010, November 19). ResistanceMap: visualizing the progression of antibiotic resistance. CDC Safe Healthcare. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from


Review: Key steps to control antibiotic resistance

A group of scientists (including APUA Scientific Advisory Board members Patrice Courvalin, Julian Davies, George Jacoby, Stephen Lerner, Stuart Levy, Alexander Tomasz) led by Shahriar Mobashery of the University of Notre Dame has published a paper outlining key steps that need to be taken to control the global crisis of antibiotic resistance. The group notes that in Europe in 2007, 400,000 infections and 25,000 deaths were attributed to multidrug-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistant infections cost the United States $20 billion per year in excess healthcare costs, $35 billion per year in societal costs and $8 million additional hospital stays per year. The group called for established research priorities, increased international funding, encouragement and support of local governments to establish better infrastructure, tighter regulation of antibiotics, and incentives to develop new antibiotics.

Bush K, Courvalin P, Dantas G, et al. (2011) Tackling antibiotic resistance. Nature Reviews 9:894-896.


Three infection control interventions to save lives and cut costs

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers led by Bradford D. Harris found that improving practices of hand hygiene, ventilator and oral care, and central-line catheter care led to dramatic reductions in infections (especially ventilator-associated pneumonias and central-line-associated bloodstream infections), mortality, and hospital costs. Results of the study showed that patients admitted after these interventions were implemented shortened their hospital stay by an average of two days and cut their cost by $12,000, while the number of patient deaths was reduced by 2.3%. These interventions were also cost effective, costing around $21 per day for oral care kits and $0.60 per day for antiseptic patches and hand sanitizers. If replicated nationwide, these interventions have the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year.

Harris BD, Hanson C, Christy C, et al. (2011) Strict hand hygiene and other practices shortened stays and cut costs and mortality in a pediatric intensive care unit. Health Affairs 30(9):1751-1761.


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