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How Science Finds Answers to Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

Posted by Neena Anandaraman, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, Veterinary Science Policy Advisor, Office of the Chief Scientist in Research and Science
Nov 18, 2021
Antibiotic bacteria

At USDA we use a feedback loop of 1) surveillance and monitoring 2) research, and 3) education and outreach to find science-based answers to challenging questions such as those posed by AR.

While USDA has been surveilling AR with our partners for decades, when we find bacteria genes, or trends we don’t always know what it means or what to do about it. This is where research comes in – helping provide context and find solutions. For example, USDA developed a model for removing antibiotics from wastewater economically.

Monitoring identifies animal health challenges to study solutions. Just this year, USDA researchers helped develop an oral solution antibiotic alternative that fights against poultry coccidiosis, which costs the poultry industry $3.5 billion annually worldwide. USDA also identified proteins that may be used to prevent respiratory disease in calves, reducing the need for antibiotics.

Research initiatives help identify solutions, while USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grants support education and extension to help introduce findings in the field right away.

Thanks to science, we’ve made significant progress in better understanding and reducing the risk of AR. Yet, there’s still much to learn. USDA continues to monitor and surveil, research new trends, and convey new findings through outreach and education, where new feedback continually feeds the cycle. Bit by bit, USDA will continue to provide science-based information needed to understand this complex issue.

Category/Topic: Research and Science