I was fascinated to see Mayo Clinic’s Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance release an RFP on 21 Oct entitled “Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Programs to Address Health Inequities arising from Socioeconomic Disparities in USA, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.” The RFP is supported by a grant from Pfizer and seeks to
- “… solicit programs that have identified a disparity related to socioeconomic factors (such as race, culture, gender, and age)
- “within resource-limited healthcare centers that
- “disproportionately impact appropriate antimicrobial use (antimicrobial stewardship) for that socioeconomic population,
- and that propose an intervention to address the disparity (and thereby) to improve measurable patient outcomes for these underserved patient communities.”
Although not as widely discussed as other AMR issues, AMR disproportionally impacts underserved patient communities world-wide. Racial minorities, ethnic minorities, and elderly patients in both developed and developing economies are at risk. To quote several examples provided by the RFP:
- In England, Asian patients were more likely than White British subjects to have ESBL bacteriuria (Rao 2015).
- In the US, the largest determinant of death in severe infections (sepsis) was socioeconomic status with black patients 2x higher compared to white patients (Kemper 2018).
- In the US, hospitalized Black or Hispanic sepsis patients are 7% more likely to die than white, while those categorized as “Asian and Pacific Islander” or “Other” race are 18% or 21% more likely to die than white patients (Jones 2017)
Relatedly, the U.S. Sepsis Alliance launched its Pledge for for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion In the Fight Against AMR. Broadly, the theme you see here is that none of us are safe until we’re all safe. This is also an idea that runs through reports such as the 2007 WHO “A Safer Future” report and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
So, it’s fascinating to see this RFP and its geographic focus of USA, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Yes, there are underserved communities in all parts of the world!
Providing a bit more detail, the RFP seeks proposals for quality improvement projects in the inpatient hospital setting that would address local antimicrobial therapy inequities for underserved populations in resource-limited centers or centers without access to antimicrobial stewardship programs. You would need to have some preliminary data on a / the antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) inequity (e.g., disparities in antibiotic usage by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, region) currently present: the RFP then supports implementation of an intervention.
Could this RFP be for you and your team? Grants of $50-100k for projects running 2022-2024 are anticipated and the application deadline is 15 Dec 2021.
And the bottom line, whether you are applying or not for one of these grants is that there is a growing body of evidence that AMR disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable populations. So, please take a moment to review the data above as well as the work of the Sepsis Alliance. You should also consider whether the Equity-Diversity-Inclusion pledge of the Sepsis Alliance is something for you / your institution to support. Better antibiotics and diagnostics are just one of many ways to contribute to better outcomes in sepsis!
All best wishes, –jr
John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Operating Partner, Advent Life Sciences. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future: https://amr.solutions/blog/. All opinions are my own.
Current funding opportunities (most current list is here):
- The AMR Action Fund is now open to proposals for funding of Phase 2 / Phase 3 antibacterial therapeutics. Per its charter, the fund prioritizes investment in treatments that address a pathogen prioritized by the WHO, the CDC and/or other public health entities that: (i) are novel (e.g., absence of known cross-resistance, novel targets, new chemical classes, or new mechanisms of action); and/or (ii) have significant differentiated clinical utility (e.g., differentiated innovation that provides clinical value versus standard of care to prescribers and patients, such as safety/tolerability, oral formulation, different spectrum of activity); and (iii) reduce patient mortality. It is also expected that such agents would have the potential to strongly address the likely requirements for delinked Pull incentives such as the UK (NHS England) subscription pilot and the PASTEUR Act in the US. Submit queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- INCATE (Incubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe) is a newly launched early-stage funding vehicle. Details are still coming into focus, but per comments on 25 Aug 2021 at the BIOCOM conference, their goal is to support ~4 companies per year with about $250k/company. Contact details are on their website (https://www.incate.net/).
- CARB-X recently announced that their existing resources will be reserved to fund their existing portfolio (more than 80 total awards, and counting, as they include contracting from prior rounds). New rounds from CARB-X will occur only after new funding is obtained in 2021.
- It’s not a funder, but AiCuris’ AiCubator offers incubator support to very early stage projects. Read more about it here.
- The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes the global clinical development pipeline, incentives for AMR R&D, and investors/investments in AMR R&D.
- In addition to the lists provided by the Global AMR R&D Hub, you might also be interested in my most current lists of R&D incentives (link) and priority pathogens (link).
Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community (most current list is here):
- 2 Nov 2021 (virtual, 8-9.30a US East Coast, noon-1.30p London, 1-2.30p Paris, 9-10.30p Tokyo): Pfizer-sponsored webinar entitled “The Global AMR Crisis: Is the scale of the action matching the scale of the threat?” With speakers including Hanan Balkhy (WHO), Ramanan Laxminarayan (CDDEP), Hon. Yasuhisa Shiozaki (multiple Cabinet-level roles in Japan’s government, Prof. Lothar H. Wieler (President, Robert Koch Institute), David Paterson (Director, U Queensland Centre for Clinical Research), Kevin Outterson (CARB-X), and me, this event will (i) discuss how the right incentives can simultaneously stimulate both improved patient access as well as innovation in anti-infectives and (ii) provide practical frameworks to support implementation of national action plans. Don’t miss this one! Go here to register!
- 15-17 Nov 2021 (virtual, timings TBD but would expect global coverage): 3rd Call to Action on Antimicrobial Resistance: “Sharing evidence and best practice to empower national action.”
- Building on the success of the previous Call to Action on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) conferences held in Berlin (2017) and Ghana (2018), the governments of Denmark, Colombia, Ghana and Zambia, with the International Centre for AMR Solutions (ICARS), UN Foundation, UNICEF, and the Wellcome Trust, are together organising a follow-up event to advance the response to rising rates of drug-resistant infections.
- Go here for an expression of interest form; contact the organizers at AMRCalltoAction@wellcome.org for other details.
- 18-24 Nov 2021: World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), sponsored by WHO. The theme is “Spread awareness, stop resistance.” Go here for details.
- [NEW] 1 Dec 2021 (virtual, 9a-1p UK): Westminster Health Forum policy conference “Tackling antimicrobial resistance in the UK and the UK’s role on the global stage.” Chaired by Kevin Hollinrake MP (Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics, APPG-Antibiotics) and Professor the Lord Trees, Emeritus Professor, U Liverpool; and Treasurer, APPG-Antibiotics, this 5-h session includes keynotes from Dame Sally Davies and Haileyesus Getahun (WHO) and speakers spanning the UK’s AMR efforts. Go here to register.
- 3 Dec 2021 (Boston, in person, 9a-6.30p, COVID vaccination required): 8th annual BAARN (Boston Area Antimicrobial Research Network) meeting. Go here for details; registration link is here.
- 3 Dec 2021 (virtual, US daytime timings): Symposium entitled “Advances in Antibacterial Discovery” sponsored by the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, is a part of the broader Bringing Chemistry to Medicine series and is supported by the St. Jude T32 Infectious Disease Therapeutics training program. Go here for details and to register.
- 3-6 Mar 2022 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Details are here.
- 6-11 Mar 2022 (Il Ciocco, Tuscany): Gordon Research Conference entitled “New Antibacterial Discovery and Development”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 5-6 Mar Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.
- 7-8 Apr 2022 (Basel and in person, we hope): The 6th edition of the annual AMR conference sponsored by the BEAM Alliance, CARB-X, the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, the IMI Accelerator, and the European Biotechnology Network. Go here for the hold-the-date page and a way to be kept informed about the meeting.
- 9-13 May 2022 (Athens and online): 40th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Go here for details.
- 20-24 Sep 2022 (New Delhi): 21st Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM). Go here for details.
- 25-28 Oct 2022 (Stellenbosch, South Africa): The University of Cape Town’s H3D Research Centre will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a symposium covering the Centre’s research on Malaria, TB, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and AMR. Go here to register.