Writing for The Hill, Dr. Cynthia Sears, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), discussed the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and highlighted new survey data revealing that Americans are counting on Congress to step in and support efforts to combat against it.
The survey, commissioned by Research!America in collaboration with the IDSA and supported in part by Pfizer, shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say antibiotic resistance is a threat to public health. What’s more, a strong majority (81%) are concerned that antibiotic resistance will make more infections difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
As Dr. Sears writes:
“Americans are right to be concerned that the antibiotic treatments that ushered in the era of modern medicine are losing their power to stop infections. These life-saving medications are essential, for example, to allow patients to get through cancer treatments and transplants that were not possible before.”
The survey also indicates that efforts to educate the general public about appropriate antibiotic usage is needed. For example, more than a third (37%) of survey respondents wrongly identify antibiotics as effective for treating viral infections.
“The survey answers demonstrate substantial gaps in public knowledge. Thus, the survey answers should be taken as a call-to-action to strengthen public health efforts countering antibiotic resistance,” Sears noted.
As of 2017, the pipeline to tackle priority pathogens like AMR included roughly 50 products. That number pales in comparison to the more than 1,100 medicines and vaccines for cancer are currently in development. But as the survey finds, nearly three quarters (73%) agree that the federal government should provide incentives to encourage increased private sector investment in the development of new antibiotics, which is a big step in the right direction
“I’m encouraged that more than three-quarters of respondents agreed the federal government should increase funding for research as well as public health initiatives to address antibiotic resistance, while nearly three-quarters agreed that the federal government should provide incentives to encourage increased private sector investment in the development of new antibiotics,” Dr. Sears added.
For more, read the full op-ed here.