AKRON, OH — Following the President’s executive order and a new report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) last week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Akron today to outline a plan to combat antibiotic-resistant infections, which affect more than two million Americans each year. During a roundtable at the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), Brown joined medical experts and business leaders from around northeast Ohio to discuss current scientific and technological advances to tackle this problem.
“We have made far too many advances in modern medicine to lose the fight to superbugs,” Brown said. “To combat antibiotic resistance, it’s important that we leverage the best in medical expertise and technological innovation. That’s why it’s so important to share information and work together to tackle this threat to America’s health.”
Last week, PCAST released a report offering recommendations to the federal government to help strengthen and improve the U.S. response to antibiotic resistance and manage the rise of superbugs. Among other recommendations, the report identifies several steps the country must take to address antibiotic resistance, including improved surveillance and enhanced stewardship of antibiotics. The report underscores the need to pass Brown’s legislation – the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act – which would provide a way forward for several of these recommendations.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, also known as CRE or the “nightmare bacteria,” have become resistant to most available antibiotics. Infections with these germs are very difficult to treat, and can be deadly—one report cites they contribute to death in up to 50 percent of infected patients.
Earlier this month, Brown and the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Tom Frieden visited the Cleveland Clinic to discuss the STAAR Act, legislation that would strengthen the federal response to antibiotic resistance by promoting prevention and control, tracking drug-resistant bacteria, and supporting enhanced research efforts, as well as improving the development, use, and stewardship of antibiotics. The bill would also establish an Office of Antimicrobial Resistance (OAR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide greater leadership, coordination, and accountability between the entities involved in combating drug resistance. By providing for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to the antibiotic resistance crisis, the STAAR Act represents a critical first step toward resolving what has become a major public health crisis.
Specifically, the STAAR Act would:
- Promote prevention through public health partnerships at the CDC and local health departments;
- Track resistant bacteria by improving data collection and requiring reporting;
- Improve the use of antibiotics by educating health care facilities on appropriate antibiotic use;
- Enhance leadership and accountability in antibiotic resistance by reauthorizing a task force and coordinating agency efforts; and
- Support research by directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with other agencies and experts to create a strategic plan to address the problem.