14 September 2010

Gone. (Again.) And it's really exciting. (And some NDM-1, too.)

Constant readers, cast your minds back to early summer, when SUPERBUG briefly bugged out of here to Scienceblogs. Scienceblogs was a great community, but not quite the right fit, and so I ended up happily back here, doing my own thing, and you very kindly followed me. And it's been an exciting few months back here, with lots of news on NDM-1 (look here for the archive), and flu and C. diff and HAIs.

And now, some real news. SUPERBUG is moving again. And this is going to be great.

I'm thrilled to be one of seven launch bloggers in a new network set up at Wired.com: Wired Science. It's an amazing, diverse group, high-performance and hyper-cool: Frontal Cortex, Neuron Culture, Laelaps, Dot Physics, Clastic Detritus, Genetic Future, and me. I'm beyond flattered to be among them.

Our launch announcement is here. My new page is here. (The complete addy, which may change in a few weeks after a tweak, but keep it for now:

My inaugural post is the latest news, from the ICAAC meeting, on NDM-1.

We're having some issues with the archives, so I'll be leaving this site up as a resource. But I'd love to see you there as well as here. Please come check us out. And thank you, so much, for your loyalty, interest and attention over these years.

08 September 2010

Antibiotic resistance: Scandinavia gets it

Odd but interesting fact: Scandinavia takes antibiotic resistance incredibly seriously. Denmark has one of the most thorough programs for preventing antibiotic misuse in agriculture; Norway has very tough regulations regarding antibiotic stewardship in hospitals (as captured in this AP story last year). Sweden has pressed the issue as well; drug resistance was a major issue for the Swedish Presidency of the European Union in the last half of 2009 and led to a major conference there on creating incentives to bring antibiotic manufacturers back into the market.

The presidency has since been relinquished to more southern countries (Spain in the first half of this year and now Belgium) but the Swedish focus on resistance persists, pushed along by the nonprofit organization ReAct, based at Uppsala University. Earlier this week, ReAct hosted a three-day international conference on antibiotic resistance in Uppsala. They haven't posted the full conference report yet, but they have come out with a closing press release, which says some interesting things (emphases mine):
At a historic three day conference at Uppsala University, Sweden, 190 delegates representing 45 countries and many leading stake holders – civil society, academia, industry, governments, authorities, supranational organizations – agreed on Wednesday to turn a new page and move towards concerted action on antibiotic resistance...
The new signals from the Uppsala meeting include:
- A shared conviction that antibiotic resistance is a universal problem. Like global warming, it requires joint action, not least by governmental alliances.
- A clear signal from the pharmaceutical industry that return of investment on research and development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tools will have to be de-linked from market sales in order to boost necessary innovation while yet limiting the use of antibiotics. This requires a new business model where private and public sectors cooperate.
- A strong recommendation to all stakeholders to speed up the efforts to limit unnecessary use of antibiotics, while at the same time making the medicines affordable and accessible in developing countries.
- A commitment to improve the monitoring of antibiotic resistance across the world, through shared data and increased efforts. A global network of surveillance will require common methods, and is crucial for both prudent use and needs driven development of new agents.
The release also mentions some promising events coming next year:
- A final report from TATFAR, The Transatlantic Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance.
- A policy meeting on antibiotic resistance in Delhi, India.
- A WHO Action Plan on Antibiotic Resistance.
- A number of regional initiatives, including in Southeast Asia, Africa and The Middle East.
(Hmm. Surely it is time for me to go back to India...)

People who've worked in this field for a long time will know, of course, that up-front commitments are easy to make; it's downstream action, carried out over the long term, that makes a difference. But this looks like a promising start: Even just stimulating international recognition of the program is an encouraging beginning.

Until the final conference report is posted, you can see video of the opening and final sessions here.

02 September 2010

Every once in a while: Some stuff about me

Drowning in work here, folks, which is a pity because there's lots of news to talk about. Back soon. Meanwhile: I try not to do this very often, because most of what we have to talk about is so much more interesting than me — but my week at UGA, which is capped by an appearance at the Decatur Book Festival, has generated some ink. So here's some amusements for your morning coffee:
  • A very kind Q&A with me, done by excellent pal Barth Anderson, operator of the feisty food-policy site Fair Food Fight
  • Another Q&A by my former colleague Phil Kloer, for the great arts blog Arts Critic ATL
  • And a video about one of my speeches at UGa, done by student TV station WNEG-TV. (The last line of the report? I didn't say that. But otherwise, well done.)