ASBMB supports the PASTEUR Act

Aug. 30, 2022

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology endorses the PASTEUR Act, which, if passed, will address the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance by encouraging drug development that targets threatening infections, promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics, and ensuring domestic availability of antibiotics when needed.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medications. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants contribute to resistance. A 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States every year, resulting in at least 35,000 deaths. Meanwhile, the supply of domestic antibiotics is low because drug companies are abandoning new antibiotic development in light of insufficient return on investment.

The national cost for treating infections caused by multidrug resistance is $4.6 billion annually. The cost to treat antimicrobial resistance is predicted to cost the global economy trillions by 2050.

The PASTEUR Acts is a bipartisan and bicameral bill. It first was introduced in the U.S. House and the Senate in 2020 but failed to move from lack of co-sponsors. It was reintroduced in June 2021 by Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., and Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., and Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Todd Young, R-Ind., and is now waiting to pass both chambers.

The legislation would address gaps in the antibiotics market and establish public health preparedness measures to prevent future pandemics. It encourages innovative antimicrobial drug development for treating drug-resistant infections and aims to improve usage of the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program and other programs to collect and report antibiotic use and resistance data.

The ASBMB supports this bill as it will provide funding and resources to combat future public health crises. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S has lost footing in the fight against antimicrobial resistance: Hospital-onset infections and deaths increased 15% from 2019 to 2020 among seven pathogens.

The ASBMB urges Congress to bolster antimicrobial resistance research ecosystem by funding basic science and translational studies in pursuit of drug targets, drug candidates and public health solutions