The Obama Administration seeks to double funding towards fighting against antibiotic resistance diseases, a problem that has been rapidly growing in the last few years.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria, according to a report from the Washington Post, causes an estimated 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths annually in the United States. These numbers are quite high, and Obama believes they justify an increase in spending. If the funding is approved, it would bring the total amount to $1.2 billion. The funding would be used to speed the development of antibiotics and diagnostic tools, improve surveillance for “superbugs,” and allow better prevention towards the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes in hospitals.
This funding will be asked for next week, as part of Obama’s annual budget request, and comes several months after Obama first released his plan to fight antibiotic resistance. Amid this growing threat, scientists have repeatedly said that, if rates continue at their current pace, routine infections and procedures could once again become life-threatening. However, with funding, there is also hope that new, more powerful antibiotics such as teixobactin; one of the most promising antibiotics discovered in years.
$650 million of the proposed funds would go to the NIH and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to expand development of antibacterial drugs and diagnostics, while other allocated portions would be split up among numerous companies. This would include $280 million for CDC-led efforts to curb the overprescribing of antibiotics, and $47 million to the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate new drugs. While worrisome, the funding for such a problem must come from the government, as many pharmaceutical companies will not pursue the issue due to the lack of monetary gain.