Subject: AMR eNews - August 21, 2020

AMR eNews - August 21, 2020
antimicrobial resistance
research & policy

global headlines

As Virus Ravages the World, Antibiotic Makers are in Chaos

"The reason that we've been told that big pharma has disengaged is because they're not making enough return on their investment." —Helen Boucher, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Centre
PBS Newshour: COVID-19 can be accompanied by secondary bacterial infections with deadly consequences. But the industry that researches and produces antibiotics to fight such illnesses has been upended — and the pandemic is only making things worse. Now, medical experts worry about the long-term health implications of not having cutting-edge antibiotics in the pharmaceutical pipeline. PBS economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

Has Big Pharma Finally Stepped Up?

“One hopes that the fund will inaugurate an accelerated process for solving a dangerous and chronic market failure. Policymakers will need to do their part to create a supportive environment for innovation, and the big pharmaceutical companies still need to clarify precisely what they will use the fund for, in terms of their own contributions to the fight against AMR." —Jim O'Neill, former chair of the UK's international commission on antimicrobial resistance 
Project Syndicate: Last month, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) launched a nearly $1 billion fund to support new treatments against novel and resistant pathogens. Through this, the pharmaceutical industry has acknowledged that there is a looming AMR crisis. Many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, as well as the Wellcome Trust and the European Investment Bank, have signed on to the initiative. 

Antibiotic Resistance Breakers Could Restore the Efficacy of Antibiotics

“Current opinion is that while development of a completely new stand-alone antibiotic is important, it won’t meet the urgent need. The field has turned to combinatory treatments, which could reach the market faster.” —Fredrik Almqvist, CEO of QureTech Bio
European Commission | CORDIS: An EU-supported project has developed novel compounds that can restore antibiotic susceptibility in antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria, thereby boosting the efficacy of standard-of-care antibiotics. The new chemical entities (NCEs) are called GmPcides. They descend from a well-established chemical platform, with the lead compounds killing Gram-positive bacteria at very low concentrations.

New Macromolecule Could Hold the Key to Reversing Antibiotic Resistance

In the absence of a new class of stronger antibiotic drugs to help curb the consequences of resistance, applying therapeutic combination approaches could hold significant potential." —James L. Hedrick, Advanced Organic Materials Researcher at IBM
IBM: To address the growing challenge of AMR, researchers from IBM, together with scientists from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, have published new findings that detail the effectiveness of a new polymer in the fight against resistant bacteria. Scientists discovered that these polymers showed no onset of resistance after many sub-lethal treatments, due to a unique mechanism.
canadian responses

Prescribing Babies Fewer Antibiotics has led to Lower Asthma Rates: B.C. Study

"This is the first time that we’ve demonstrated a population-level effect in any jurisdiction in the world where a reduction in antibiotic use in babies appears to be resulting in a drop in the asthma rate." –David Patrick, CAIN member and professor at the University of British Columbia
Global News: What started as a way of reducing antibiotic resistance in bacteria has grown to have some unexpected benefits. Childhood asthma rates have fallen because fewer unnecessary antibiotics are being prescribed to babies within the first year of life, a study by British Columbia researchers says. The study shows that infants who were given antibiotics face nearly double the risk of asthma by age five.

COVID-19 and Antimicrobial Resistance: Parallel and Interacting Health Emergencies

Understanding how COVID-19 affects AMR trends and what we can expect if these remain the same or worsen will help us plan next steps to tackle AMR." 
Clinical Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 and AMR are parallel and interacting health emergencies with opportunity for mutual learning. As their measures and consequences are comparable, COVID-19 helps to illustrate the potential long-term impact of AMR, which is less acute but not less crucial. They may also impact each other as there is a push to resort to existing antimicrobials in critically ill COVID-19 patients in the absence of specific treatments.

Why Overuse of Antibiotics in COVID-19 Could Have a Lasting Impact in Healthcare

There are a lot of clever approaches superbugs have to avoid antibiotics, and some of them are encoded by genes that are shared among pathogens. That's why antibiotic resistance can spread so widely." —Eric Brown, CAIN member and Professor at McMaster University
CBC: Canadian infectious disease physicians suggest a limited role for antibiotics in COVID-19 cases. Once it's clear that the person has COVID and there's no bacterial infection, then antibiotic treatments should be stopped. The long-term ramifications of the increase in use are still unknown, but it could jeopardize the use of antimicrobials to prevent infections after surgeries like hip replacements, C-sections, and organ transplants.
Want to help design the future of Canada’s AMR response? This summer, Project: AMR Network is hosting online town hall events designed to garner input on the functions of a potential Canadian One Health AMR network. Open to anybody with involvement or interest in AMR, these events will give voice to Canada’s sprawling One Health community. Register for a date and time convenient for you. Register today »
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
Antibiotic prescription practices in primary care in LMICs

PLOS Medicine: A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies conducted in primary care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) estimates the proportion of inappropriate prescriptions.
The environmental dimension of antimicrobial resistance

FEMS Microbiology Ecology: There is a much needed shift from the description of resistance genes in the environment to the determination of contributing factors and the actions needed to reduce resistance.
High levels of antibiotic resistance genes in wild bird feces

Environmental Pollution: Urban wild birds are an overlooked but potentially important reservoir of antimicrobial-resistant genes. These genes spread to the environment by way of droppings.
The value of antimicrobial peptides in the age of resistance

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Anti-microbial peptides have clear advantages over conventional antibiotics, including slower emergence of resistance, broad-spectrum antibiofilm activity, and more. 
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.

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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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