Subject: AMR eNews - April 24, 2020

AMR eNews - April 24, 2020
Special COVID-19 Edition
antimicrobial resistance
research & policy

global headlines

Antibiotic resistance: the hidden threat lurking behind COVID-19

As we come together to fight today’s COVID-19 crisis, we must also look ahead to the next one. We cannot be short-sighted, and we cannot be complacent, especially about antibiotic resistance." —Julie L. Gerberding, Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President at Merck
STAT: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical need for the rapid development of vaccines and antiviral treatments to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by this dangerous new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The biopharmaceutical industry has quickly responded and at least 80 candidates are already in development. With good luck, we will eventually have some of the tools we need to fight this new global threat.

Antibiotic resistance could lead to more COVID-19 deaths

Secondary bacterial infections are part of the problem, and we need to ramp up research on new drugs to fight them.”
Claas Kirchhelle (University of Oxford), Adam Roberts (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), and Andrew Singer (U.K. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Scientific American: It may seem strange to focus on antibiotics during a viral pandemic. However, bacterial superinfections are often what make pandemics like COVID-19 especially deadly. During the 1918–1920 global influenza pandemic, a large proportion of patients died not from the virus itself but from secondary bacterial pneumonia that spread easily in the crowded hospital wards among the often malnourished and immunocompromised individuals.

Fight viruses in your home without making bacteria stronger

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global health challenges out there right now.”  —Erica Hartmann, Environmental Microbiologist at Northwestern University
Popular Science: Not all bugs are bad (in fact, trillions exist on or inside us that we can’t survive without). But many of the microbes that do cause disease have developed the ability to thwart the drugs we use to treat them. In the United States alone, about 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections arise each year, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths—and the threat could worsen if we’re not careful about the cleaning products we use to battle the current viral outbreak.
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canadian responses

How can we solve the antibiotic resistance crisis?

"With enough investment in antibiotic development and controlled use of our current drugs, we can still get ahead of resistance." —Gerry Wright, Scientific Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University
TED-Ed: Antibiotics enable much of modern medicine. We use them to cure infectious diseases, and to safely facilitate everything from surgeries to chemotherapy to organ transplants. Without them, even routine medical procedures can lead to life-threatening infections. And we're at risk of losing them. Unfortunately, some bacteria have become resistant to all currently available antibiotics.

The dangerous legacy of COVID-19: A rise in antimicrobial resistance

“We intend to keep surveillance, public health, and infection prevention and control in Canada’s collective conscience well after this pandemic is over. Because if we don’t, we may just find ourselves in a similar situation not too far down the road." —Andrew Morris (Sinai Health) and Gerry Wright (McMaster University)
The Globe and Mail: The coronavirus caught the world by surprise, advancing at a speed and magnitude beyond most people’s imaginations. Misinformation about treatments has already led to tragic outcomes. In their desperation, people have been using an array of antimicrobial products in a manner that will lead to more harm than good. The inadvertent use of antimicrobial drugs in this pandemic could leave us with another, more dangerous legacy: drug-resistant infections.

Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues

“We are hopeful our results have implications for the development of a novel drug for the treatment of this unprecedented pandemic." —Josef Penninger, Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine
UBC News: An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts. The findings, published in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that has already affected more than 2,700,000 people and claimed the lives of 190,000 people worldwide.

Drug-resistant superbugs: A global threat intensified by the fight against coronavirus

"AMR is a slower-moving pandemic than COVID-19, but one that is worsening every day." —Lori Burrows, Associate Director of Partnerships & Outreach of the IIDR at McMaster University
The Conversation: We can learn from COVID-19. The current pandemic shows that, despite all of our medical advances, we remain incredibly vulnerable to infections for which we have no therapies. However, it also shows that, if sufficiently motivated, we can make huge changes in short timeframes. But despite significant efforts to educate policymakers and the public about AMR, it remains low on the priority list for many jurisdictions.
learning resources
The Council of Canadian Academies (2019): When Antibiotics Fail
G20 (Prepared by OECD, WHO, FAO and OIE) (2017): Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance - Ensuring Sustainable R&D
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019): Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019
Jim O'Neill, Commissioned by the UK Prime Minister (2016): 
Tackling Drug-resistant Infections Globally: Report & Recommendations

reports & publications
AMR Following Azithromycin Mass Drug Administration

Clinical Infectious Diseases: Targeted short-term and long-term surveillance of resistance emergence to key antibiotics, especially those from the World Health Organization Access group, is needed.
Measuring and Monitoring Healthcare-Associated Infections

Healthcare Quarterly: Patients should never have to worry about getting an infection while in hospital. Yet every year, many hospitalized Canadians continue to acquire an infection during their stay. 
who we are

The Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network (CAIN) is a consortium of over 80 leaders, researchers, clinicians, and policymakers from Canadian universities, companies, governments, and not-for-profit organizations committed to addressing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). CAIN members span human and animal health sectors, reflecting the fact that AMR is a One Health issue.

Stay up to date regarding the latest news in AMR research and policy.

The Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network (CAIN) AMR eNews is proudly sponsored by the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery (DBCAD)For all communications, including any questions, comments, or suggestions that you may have regarding the AMR newsletter, please contact DBCAD Communications Coordinator Christy Groves at
The Canadian Anti-infective
Innovation Network (CAIN)

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

The David Braley Centre for
Antibiotic Discovery
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario

The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario

McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4)
McGill University

Montreal, Quebec

McMaster University, 1280 Main St W, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8, Canada
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