US, EU vow action against antibiotic resistance

The United States and the European Union vowed to make new progress against antibiotic resistance by working toward standards that could measure antibiotic use and the risks associated with it.

The goals were outlined in an 86-page report released Tuesday by the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR), a multi-year collaboration between U.S. and E.U. government health officials.

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The two sides repeated their commitment to fighting antibiotic resistance, a trend in which key drugs become ineffective because of overuse. They also promised to carry on with efforts to help governments, clinicians and public health officials better understand the trend.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a growing and complex threat that requires sustained and coordinated action," the report stated. "The U.S. and E.U. reaffirm their commitment to working collaboratively through the TATFAR to address this priority public health issue."

Tuesday's report served to update readers on TATFAR's progress toward 17 goals, like enhancing campaigns for appropriate use of antibiotics and streamlining how governments measure antibiotic use in animals.

TAFTAR was created in 2009 following a U.S.-E.U. presidential summit and seeks to encourage the proper use of antibiotics, prevent drug-resistant infections and hasten the development of new antibiotics.

The partners vowed to improve communication on new resistance trends and specifically, to convene a working group on how antibiotic resistance in animals poses risks to human health.

The groups also dropped two recommendations after struggling to reconcile differences between how the U.S. and E.U. interact with the vaccine industry and evaluate hospital infection control programs.