Weekly digest: Antibiotic resistance in retail meat, a WHO book on AMR, and the deadly, expanding market for counterfeit drugs

9 Mar 2012
Andrea Titus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases a Vital Signs report on U.S. trends in infections with Clostridium difficile, a gastrointestinal bug linked with taking antibiotics and receiving medical care. C. diff hospitalizations have risen threefold in the past decade, and deaths increased by 400% between 2000 and 2007.

Breaking down a recent National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System report (U.S.) shows that antibiotic resistant bacteria in retail meat products continues to be a problem.  Superbug has more.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest releases a white paper detailing antibiotic resistant foodborne illnesses in 2011 across the United States.

To address a dwindling antibiotic pipeline, the Infectious Diseases Society of America is urging the FDA to treat certain new antibiotics as “orphan drugs.” The Orphan Drug Act passed in 1983 provides incentives for pharmaceutical companies to invest in medicines for rare diseases.

Research in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine finds that the common antibiotic doxycycline may be a viable treatment for tuberculosis.

Medscape profiles bacteriophages, viruses capable of invading bacteria and interrupting replication.  Could these viruses treat bacterial infections and evade antibiotic resistance?

A new book from the World Health Organization follows on the theme of World Health Day 2011: antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  "The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance – options for action" describes policy activities that have addressed antimicrobial resistance in different parts of the world as well as some of the progress made since the publication of the WHO's 2001 AMR strategy.

Results from the Thibela TB study released at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle show that community-wide, untargeted distribution of TB preventive therapies in South African gold mines did not significantly improve TB control efforts.

India’s Supreme Court is preparing to hear final arguments in a landmark drug patent case involving Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company.  Novartis is suing the Indian government over its decision to deny a patent for Gleevec, a cancer treatment. Critics worry that a victory for Novartis could jeopardize access to generic, low-cost medicines across the developing world.

Nature describes how the international community is moving towards criminalizing counterfeit and substandard pharmaceuticals worldwide.  The counterfeit drug market is valued at an estimated $75 billion (USD)/year.  An Op-Ed in the Lancet explores the deadly effects of substandard drugs in Pakistan (subscription required).

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Image credit: Flickr: wallyg

Antibiotic Resistance