Researchers find CDC underestimated antibiotic resistance of infections

Researchers with the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute recently found that the increase in antibiotic resistance among hospital-acquired infections is higher than previously estimated, according to an article in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an analysis about the resistance to antibiotics among infections acquired at hospitals. Brad Spellberg, an infectious disease specialist at LA BioMed, and his colleagues privately gathered data and found that antibiotic resistance is at crisis levels among hospital-acquired infections.

The study's authors also found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's promise to reboot regulations for antibiotic development is falling short.

"With antibiotic-resistant microbes infecting more than two million Americans every year and killing more than 100,000 annually, we must act to find new weapons in the global battle against deadly superbugs," Spellberg said. "Our analysis found the rise in antibiotic resistance among three common forms of hospital-acquired infections is much greater than previously reported by the CDC based on older data, leading us to conclude that more than an FDA 'reboot' is needed. To encourage antibiotic development, the pharmaceutical industry must see that there is a path for a return on its investment in antibiotic development."

In 2008, the CDC estimated the resistance for acinetobacter to carbapenems to be 11 percent, the resistance among E. coli to third generation cephalosporins to be five percent and the resistance of klebsiella to third generation cephalosporins to be 15 percent. The authors' analysis found the resistance levels were actually more than 50 percent, eight to 11 percent and between 20 and 27 percent, respectively.

Spellberg and his colleagues said there were very positive aspects in the FDA's most recent guidance for antibacterial therapies for patients with medical needs that are unmet, but they said the FDA's approach to developing antibacterials in traditional indications was mixed.

"None of the antibiotics under development today can address all of these antibiotic-resistant infections," Spellberg said. "A complete overhaul of the approaches to resistance, disease and prevention could change the continuing upward trajectory of antibiotic resistant infections. To do anything less invites a bleak post-antibiotic future, in which infectious diseases once again reign supreme."