(Refiles to remove extraneous letters from the headline)
By P.J. Huffstutter
CHICAGO, July 23 A White House advisory
committee is expected to acknowledge the link between
antimicrobial resistance in humans and livestock being fed
antibiotics when it issues its report in the next few weeks,
according to the transcript of a committee meeting held earlier
But how much of the public health problem can be attributed
to such farming practices remains unclear, according to the
transcript of a July 11 meeting of the President's Council of
Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
Committee members have declined to discuss the report before
its release, which is expected to happen in the next few weeks.
In the transcript, council co-Chairman Eric Lander said
there was "clear documentation" that antibiotic-resistant
microbes can transfer from farm animals to humans.
"That judicious use [of antibiotics] in agriculture right
now is absolutely essential," Lander said in the transcript.
"There may come a point where one will say it's justified to say
Governments and public health officials worldwide have begun
ramping up efforts to fight so-called "super bugs" - microbes
that have mutated to be resistant to medically important
antibiotics such as cephalosporins, which are used to treat
hospital-acquired infections like blood infections and
The committee's report on antibiotic resistance, according
to the transcript, is likely to recommend several actions to
stay ahead of what Lander described as a "cat-and-mouse game
played at this microscopic level between our agents, our
therapeutics, and these microbes."
The actions are expected to include offering government
incentives to encourage the development of new antibiotics;
setting up a federal inter-agency task force on antibiotic
resistance; finding alternatives to human-relevant antibiotics
for livestock producers to use to promote animal growth and
prevent disease, and increasing the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration's powers to expedite the approval of antibiotics
for limited or specialized uses.
In the United States, consumer advocacy groups and some
lawmakers have been urging the White House and federal
regulators to take a more aggressive stance on how the U.S.
livestock industry uses antibiotics and other medications.
U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a New York Democrat
who is the only microbiologist in Congress, sent a letter last
week to the president asking for an executive order requiring
that all federally purchased meat be raised without antibiotics
and calling for the establishment of PCAST's recommended
inter-agency task force, among measures to address the problem.
(Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Jan Paschal)