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President Biden signed an executive order establishing a new national biomanufacturing initiative and pledging more than US$2 billion to fund building or expanding drug manufacturing facilities and ensuring an adequate supply of raw materials. The Biden administration’s goal is to strengthen the biotech supply chain and maintain US competitiveness with foreign manufacturers in the wake of major supply chain challenges and shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. $40 million of the pledge will go toward expanding the production of antibiotics and the base materials needed to produce products for future pandemic responses.
A new study looking at antimicrobial resistance (AMR) records from laboratories in 14 African countries found that the basic requirements for testing for drug-resistant pathogens are unmet in most areas despite plans to tackle antimicrobial resistance on the continent. The researchers found that only 1.3 percent of the 50,000 medical laboratories included in the study were conducting bacteriology testing. Of those laboratories that were, even fewer were equipped to test for AMR and among those who were testing for AMR, only a third of the high-priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens designated by the World Health Organizations were being tested consistently. The study highlights larger challenges in Africa including limited access to antibiotics, imperfect use of antibiotics, and a lack of information about the impact of AMR because of incomplete and fragmented data.
The smallpox treatment tecovirimat, or TPOXX, is undergoing a phase 3 clinical trial to test efficacy in treating monkeypox after preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed some alleviation of symptoms in patients. The trial is being run by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group in locations nationwide and will enroll more than 500 people who test positive for monkeypox. The intent is to provide stronger data that federal officials and agencies can use to inform decisions about the use of TPOXX in the national response to monkeypox.