Skip Navigation
NIH HHS News Release Logo
National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Skip Content Marketing
  • Share this:
  • submit to facebook
  • Tweet it
  • submit to reddit
  • submit to StumbleUpon
  • submit to Google +

MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Fauci: Robust Research Efforts Needed to Address Ongoing, Global Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance

JAMA Commentary and NIAID Report Discuss Research Priorities to Improve Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

WHAT:
Given the evolutionary ability of microbes to rapidly adapt, the threat of antimicrobial resistance likely will never be eliminated. Today, many factors compound the problem, including the inappropriate use of antibiotics and a dwindling supply of new medicines, leading to a global crisis of antimicrobial resistance.  This crisis must be addressed with a multi-faceted approach that includes a strong base of basic, clinical and translational research, according to a new commentary in the journal JAMA from Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleague Hilary D. Marston, M.D., M.P.H.
 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus AureusAn electron micrograph of a human neutrophil ingesting Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (purple), a key form of antimicrobial resistance research NIAID is pursuing.
Credit: NIAID
View larger image.
 
In the United States alone, drug-resistant bacterial infections cause an estimated 23,000 deaths each year. These infections also are a hefty economic burden to the U.S. health care system: $20 billion annually in direct costs with an additional estimated $35 billion in lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
As discussed in a new report, NIAID’s Antimicrobial Resistance Program: Current Status and Future Directions, 2014, NIAID recently refocused its antimicrobial resistance research efforts to address key scientific challenges. Among the innovative complementary approaches NIAID is pursuing: examining the comprehensive biology and genetic makeup of specific microbes to understand how bacteria become resistant and to identify new targets for point-of-care diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; developing vaccines to prevent infection with such drug-resistant microbes as Staphylococcus aureus and Neisseria gonorrhoeae; harnessing healthy bacteria in the human body to combat future infection; targeting the mechanisms by which bacteria cause disease; and designing new antibiotics that are less likely to generate resistance, such as those that directly target the mechanisms by which bacteria cause disease, while also repurposing existing treatments and using natural predators, such as bacteriophages—viruses that infect and destroy specific bacteria. To further clinical research, NIAID also recently established a Leadership Group to design, implement, and manage the clinical research agenda for a new antibacterial resistance research network.
 
Such research efforts, combined with improved surveillance, prevention efforts, diagnostics and industry incentives to drive development of new antimicrobial medicines are essential to meeting the continual threat of antimicrobial resistance, the authors write.
 
ARTICLE:
AS Fauci and HD Marston. The Perpetual Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. Journal of the American Medical Association. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.2465.
 
For more information about NIAID’s new directions in antimicrobial resistance research, see the report NIAID's Antibacterial Resistance Program: Current Status and Future Directions, 2014.
 
WHO:
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available for interviews.
 
CONTACT:
To schedule interviews, please contact the NIAID Office of Communications, (301) 402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health ®

back to top


Last Updated March 20, 2014

Last Reviewed March 19, 2014