Budget deal includes $375M to fight superbugs

Funding hike is largest ever for antibiotic resistance

Healthcare leaders have named drug-resistant superbugs as a major emerging threat to public health, which will require robust support from policymakers. Now, Congress has answered the call, with this week's budget deal giving federal agencies the biggest funding increase ever to fight superbugs, according to the Washington Post.

The deal would provide $375 million in additional funds for antibiotic resistance, a 57 percent increase from fiscal 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would receive $160 million, the biggest portion of the new funds, to help prepare state and local health authorities to improve their readiness for potential superbug outbreaks, while the National Institutes of Health would get an additional $100 million to research antimicrobial resistance.

An additional $10 million would go to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, while the Food and Drug Administration would receive $8.7 million and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, would be given another $96 million.

"I think it's fair to say we're delighted to see resources being allocated to address the crisis we are in," Helen Boucher, M.D., a Boston infectious disease doctor and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told the Post.

As many as half of post-surgical infections are the result of superbugs, according to research published in October, and 1 in 4 post-chemotherapy infections. The rise of superbugs worldwide has been largely driven by overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics, potentially causing more than 6,000 deaths per year.

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