Experts Examine Funding of Studies of Hospital-Associated Bacterial Pathogens

Hospital-associated infections (HAIs) are associated with a considerable burden of disease and direct costs greater than $17 billion. The pathogens that cause the majority of serious HAIs are Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species, referred to as ESCKAPE pathogens.

Seunghyug Kwon of Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues, aimed to determine the amount of funding the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) allocates to research on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, particularly ESCKAPE pathogens.

The NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) database was used to identify NIAID antimicrobial resistance research grants funded in 2007-2009 using the terms "antibiotic resistance," "antimicrobial resistance," and "hospital-associated infection."
 
Funding for antimicrobial resistance grants has increased from 2007 to 2009. Antimicrobial resistance funding for bacterial pathogens has seen a smaller increase than non-bacterial pathogens. The total funding for all ESKCAPE pathogens was $ 22,005,943 in 2007, $ 30,810,153 in 2008 and $ 49,801,227 in 2009. S. aureus grants received $ 29,193,264 in FY2009, the highest funding amount of all the ESCKAPE pathogens. Based on 2009 funding data, approximately $1,565 of research money was spent per S. aureus related death and $750 of was spent per C. difficile related death.
 
The researchers say that although the funding for ESCKAPE pathogens has increased from 2007 to 2009, funding levels for antimicrobial resistant bacteria-related grants is still lower than funding for antimicrobial resistant non-bacterial pathogens. Efforts may be needed to improve research funding for resistant-bacterial pathogens, particularly as their clinical burden increases. Their research was published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Reference: Kwon S, Schweizer MLand Perencevich EN.  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Funding for Studies of Hospital-Associated Bacterial Pathogens: Are Funds Proportionate to Burden of Disease? Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2012, 1:5 doi:10.1186/2047-2994-1-5
 

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