May 6, 2019

Companies ditch antibiotics as drug-resistant infections increase

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As the threat of drug-resistant infections rises globally, small and large drug companies are giving up on antibiotics because they don't turn enough profit, Bloomberg reports.

Details: One particularly striking example is an antibiotic developed by Achaogen targeting a superbug that appears in intensive care units, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.

  • While the antibiotic was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June, Achaogen filed for bankruptcy in April. The drug had made less than $1 million in sales in its first 6 months on the market.
  • Experts fear this story will repeat itself with other biotechs if something isn't done.

By the numbers: Only 5 of 16 antibiotics introduced between 2000 and 2015 made $100 million or more annually in U.S. sales.

  • Antibiotics bring in much less money than drugs for other types of diseases, like cancer.
  • And doctors explicitly try not to prescribe antibiotics unless they're needed.

The bottom line: While public health experts have ideas about how to fix the incentives around developing antibiotics, for now things aren't looking good.

Go deeper: Drug resistance could kill 10M people per year by 2050, experts say

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week
  4. Public health latest: Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World latest: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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America's food heroes

Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

Go deeperArrow11 mins ago - Health

Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed after a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."