Washington, D.C. -On September 18th, 2014 the White House announced a series of Executive Actions to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. These actions included the release of a National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, an Executive Order directing federal departments to implement this strategy, and the launch of a $20 million prize to facilitate the development of a rapid diagnostic test to be used by health care providers to identify highly resistant bacterial infections at the point of patient care. In addition, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) also released a related report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance today.
This National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria identifies priorities and coordinates investments to prevent, detect, and control outbreaks of resistant pathogens recognized by the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) as urgent or serious threats, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the pathogen that causes gonorrhea. It also provides a five-year plan to address the following five goals:
- •Slow the Development of Resistant Bacteria and Prevent the Spread of Resistant Infections
- •Strengthen National One-Health Surveillance Efforts to Combat Resistance
- •Advance Development and Use of Rapid and Innovative Diagnostic Tests for Identification and Characterization of Resistant Bacteria
- •Accelerate Basic and Applied Research and Development for New Antibiotics, Other Therapeutics, and Vaccines
- •Improve International Collaboration and Capacities for Antibiotic Resistance Prevention, Surveillance, Control, and Antibiotic Research and Development
In addition, this National Strategy explicitly mentions how goal three (“Advance Development and Use of Rapid and Innovative Diagnostic Tests for Identification and Characterization of Resistant Bacteria”) would greatly advance detection, control, and prevention of gonorrhea, as well as the need for accelerated research (goal four: Accelerate Basic and Applied Research and Development for New Antibiotics, Other Therapeutics, and Vaccines”) to increase the drug pipeline for gonorrhea.
Also included in the National Strategy are national targets for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which states that by 2020, the United States will “maintain the prevalence of ceftriaxone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae below two percent compared to estimates from 2013.”
The Executive Order calls for better monitoring of resistant infections, improved regulations governing antibiotic use, more robust research to develop new and effective methods for combating antibiotic resistance, and increased international cooperation to curb the global rise in resistant bacteria.
In addition, the Executive Order also establishes both a new interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and a Federal Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. This new Task Force is tasked with developing a five-year National Action Plan for implementing both the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which includes goals, milestones, and assessment metrics for detecting, preventing, and controlling antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and to address the new PCAST report. This Task Force is requested to submit this action plan to the President by February 15, 2015. Within 180 days of the release of this Action Plan and each year after, the Task Force shall provide the President with an update on Federal government action to combat antibiotic resistance.
The full Executive Order Combating Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria can be found on the White House Website, as can the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Additional materials from this announcement can be found online: White House Blog Post, PCAST Blog Post, and PCAST Report.