The PASTEUR Act and Antibiotic Resistance
The PASTEUR Act is a bill in Congress. It aims to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The act will encourage research on new antibiotics and how to use them.
More knowledge about antibiotics would address a major problem for people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Because people with CF have a higher risk of certain infections, they may take more antibiotics. Over time, this can lead to infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
Get involved to help advocate for the PASTEUR Act. Advocacy groups can help you find support and meet other people with CF. Your voice can show lawmakers why they should invest in research to improve the lives of people with CF.
How antibiotic resistance affects people with CF
Antibiotics are drugs that destroy bacteria. They can treat or prevent bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and sinusitis. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics over time, the bacteria can change in ways that prevent antibiotics from destroying them. We say that these bacteria have developed resistance.1,2
Antibiotic resistance is a common problem in CF. Many types of bacteria survive better in the thick mucus layer in the lungs of people with CF. Two of these bacteria are:1,3
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
These bacteria can cause disease and long-term or repeating (chronic) infections. Because of this, many people with CF end up taking more antibiotics. The bacteria can become resistant to common antibiotics. For example, Staphylococcus aureus has 2 antibiotic-resistant forms, each named after the antibiotic they are resistant to:3
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA)
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are harder to destroy. So they lead to chronic infections that are harder to treat.
Ways to fight antibiotic resistance
You can fight antibiotic resistance at the individual level and at the national level. Reduce your personal risk of antibiotic resistance by:2,3
- Taking antibiotics exactly the way your doctor tells you to
- Washing your hands often to reduce your risk of infection
- Limiting contact with people when you are sick
We also need to improve the way we use antibiotics. Doctors must avoid prescribing unneeded antibiotics. Experts are trying to study ways to personalize antibiotic treatments. This means tailoring prescriptions to specific infections.4
At the national level, we need more research to develop new antibiotics. Major drug companies no longer develop antibiotics. Companies that create antibiotics lose money because antibiotic drugs are cheap. We need greater rewards for antibiotic development.2
The PASTEUR Act
Our government is trying to address the problem of antibiotic resistance with the PASTEUR Act. PASTEUR stands for "Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions To End Upsurging Resistance." The bill was introduced in the US Senate in June 2021. If it passes, it will provide financial incentives for antibiotic research.5,6
If it passes, the PASTEUR Act will:5,6
- Allow antibiotic producers to apply for “subscription contracts” for critical antibiotics
- Make sure antibiotics stay affordable once they reach the market
- Award grants to efforts that support correct use of antibiotics
- Track data on antibiotic resistance and make that information public
- Establish a committee to maintain a list of priorities
Advocating for more antibiotic research
The PASTEUR Act will help address the problem of antibiotic resistance in CF. Fortunately, the bill has broad support from both political parties. But advocacy can help ensure the bill passes. Advocacy can help ensure continued funding for antibiotic research.
In March 2022, over 150 advocates who care about CF met with members of Congress. This happened during the annual “March on the Hill.” They asked lawmakers to co-sponsor the PASTEUR Act. Volunteers shared personal stories and information about research initiatives. Thousands of advocates across the country also sent messages to lawmakers.
Advocacy is a great way to connect with people with CF. Some ways to get involved in CF advocacy include:
- Finding local and online support groups and advocacy groups
- Attending fundraising events
- Volunteering in the community
- Participating in events that help lawmakers understand life with CF
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