"As the future of American health care, we strongly support the PASTEUR Act and urge you to cosponsor the bill and make it a priority this year.”
June 1, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) A group of more than 150 medical students from 22 states today called on Congress to make the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act a priority. In a letter to Members of Congress, the students share their firsthand insight into the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among their patients, and the alarming role AMR plays in combatting infectious diseases and preparing for future pandemics.
The students write: “In a study of 99 patients infected with COVID-19, bacterial cultures revealed infections of difficult-to-treat superbugs, including A. baumannii, K. pneumoniae, and A. flavus. Furthermore, a retrospective study of 191 patients found that 50% of patients who died from COVID-19 had acquired a secondary bacterial infection in the last few days of life. Additionally, experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have estimated that the majority of deaths during the 1918-1919 pandemic were due to secondary bacterial infections.
“A clear market failure exists for new antimicrobials. Companies develop and manufacture highly valuable antimicrobial drugs, but as health professionals, we learn that such drugs should be held in reserve for the patients who most need them. Additionally, there are gaps in the system regarding appropriate antimicrobial use, or stewardship, which contributes to resistance in care for humans and in agriculture. In the long term, this is a system that will not sustain the robust infrastructure that we need to address our patients’ needs.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made all Americans aware of the vital role our health care workers play,” said Ken Thorpe of the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease Advisory Board. “This group represents the future of health care in our country, and their observations and calls for action to ensure they are able to treat their patients for years to come must not go unnoticed. AMR is a threat to all of us, and the time to prepare for it is now.”
The Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease is a group of patients, providers, community organizations, academic researchers, business and labor groups, and infectious disease experts working to raise awareness of threats posed by infectious disease, as well as advance solutions to ensure future pandemic preparedness.