The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded more than $14 million to fund innovative approaches to combat antibiotic resistance, including research on the use of microbiomes— naturally occurring microbes in the human body—to predict and prevent infections caused by drug-resistant organisms.
The funding will support 34 projects related to the CDC Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative, which assists state and local public health partners in preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections. The projects will address how antibiotics disrupt a healthy microbiome, how a disrupted microbiome puts people at risk, and how antibiotic stewardship can be improved to better protect the microbiome.
“Understanding the role the microbiome plays in antibiotic-resistant infections is necessary to protect the public’s health,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We think it is key to innovative approaches to combat antibiotic resistance, protect patients, and improve antibiotic use.”
The threat of antibiotic-resistant infections is both imminent and deadly. The World Health Organization issued a report in 2014 warning that the world was on the cusp of a post-antibiotic era in which even common infections and illnesses can kill.
Furthermore, CDC has reported that more than two million Americans a year are infected with bacteria resistant infections, resulting in 23,000 deaths annually. Those numbers could increase exponentially over the next several decades.
Earlier this year, Homeland Security Today reported that a Department of Defense (DOD) report confirmed the first case of a drug-resistant superbug in a person in the United States. The DOD researchers said the discovery “heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.”
The awardees of the CDC funding include: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, The Joint Commission, Ohio State University, OpenBiome, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, Synthetic Biologics, Inc., University of Georgia, University of California Berkley, University of California Davis, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, University of Oregon, University of Utah, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington University and Yale University.