Battle Plan for War on Superbugs Revealed

But critics say White House effort doesn't address key problem
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2014 9:39 AM CDT
Battle Plan for War on Superbugs Revealed
Matt Redinbo holds a bacterial enzyme that he is trying to inhibit to kill drug-resistant microbes on Dec. 20, 2007, in Chapel Hill, NC.   (AP Photo/Jonathan Fredin)

The Obama administration yesterday revealed a new national strategy to address antibiotic resistance, which kills 23,000 people a year. Some experts are heralding the fact that a president is finally responding to the issue, the New York Times reports. Others, however, say the strategy to improve how antibiotic use and antibiotic-resistant microbes are tracked doesn't go far enough to fight nightmarish superbugs like this one. In particular, critics are bothered by the absence of measures that focus on what they say is a major source of the problem: the overuse of antibiotics on farm animals.

Still, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the strategy, which was established via executive order, will save "thousands" of lives, Scientific American reports. Some of what it establishes: a $20 million prize for the creation of a quick and effective diagnostic test for antibiotic-resistant infections; a national task force that will put forth a five-year action plan in February; and a directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to recommend regulations that would force hospitals to set up antibiotics stewardship programs. (Read more antibiotic-resistant bacteria stories.)

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