Congressional leaders honored for supporting legislative action to #SquashSuperbugs
May 18, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) Today the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID), along with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Boomer Esiason Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unite to highlight the urgency for action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). An estimated 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. The COVID-19 pandemic further compounded this already urgent situation. The threats of AMR do not discriminate and are not limited to treatment for serious infections, but also impact many medical services that rely upon the effective prevention of infection – cancer treatments, cesarean sections, organ transplantation, joint replacements, care of preterm infants and immunocompromised patients, and much more. Together, these groups, and many of their partners, are calling for legislative solutions to address AMR’s impact on people living with chronic illnesses, including cystic fibrosis (CF), and increasing threats across the health care continuum.
"The world is full of urgent threats, but we can take this one off the table with bold action now. Passing the PASTEUR Act would ensure that no one else needs to suffer the fate of Mallory Smith, who was fighting CF, but was killed by a superbug,” stated Kevin Outterson, Boston University Professor of Law and PFID Advisory Board member.
Today’s event, which will take place in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and also be streamed via Facebook Live, will recognize members of Congress who have shown leadership on efforts to address AMR, include a panel discussion with health, policy and patient experts, and kick off with remarks from Diane Shader Smith, whose daughter Mallory lived with cystic fibrosis for 25 years and ultimately lost her life after a 10-year battle against antibiotic-resistant infections. During the event, attendees will learn more about Mallory’s life and her family’s journey, which is chronicled in the documentary, Salt in My Soul.
“Mallory’s death was a preventable tragedy. Her story as told in Salt in My Soul underscores the urgent need to develop new and more effective treatments. We need Congress to act now,” emphasized Diane Shader Smith.
Diane’s hope is that Mallory’s story will better educate broad audiences about the urgency of AMR and motivate action that could change the trajectory for those battling resistant bacteria.
Congressional awards will be presented to recognize members of Congress who have shown leadership on the PASTEUR Act and other legislative efforts to address AMR. Following the awards, a panel discussion moderated by Kevin Outterson will feature perspectives from Mary Dwight, Senior Vice President and Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Sara Cosgrove, MD, MS, Director, Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Antimicrobial Stewardship; Gunnar Esiason, Chief Strategy Officer, Boomer Esiason Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Patient & Advocate, MPH Candidate, Dartmouth College; and Tori Kinamon, AMR Patient & Student, Duke University Medical School.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects more than 30,000 children and adults in the United States. CF causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and digestive system, which can lead to life-threatening infections. Cystic fibrosis is both serious and progressive; lung damage caused by infection is irreversible and can have a lasting impact on length and quality of life.
“Cystic fibrosis is a microcosm of the risks of persistent antibiotic use and the potential effects of antibiotic-resistant organisms,” said Mary Dwight, senior vice president and chief policy and advocacy officer at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “In the case of antibiotic-resistant infections, people with CF face challenges today that a larger population is at risk for facing tomorrow if we do not address this issue head on. While no single proposal will solve all the issues, the PASTEUR Act goes a long way in addressing the economic barriers that allow new antibiotics to get into the hands of patients.”
The Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) 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.