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Health officials from both sides of the Atlantic have been working together to tackle antimicrobial resistance under their joint Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and EU health authorities have recently released their first progress report, revealing the work done between 2011 and 2013.
Antimicrobial resistance is an increasingly challenging problem globally. It is estimated that drug-resistant infections cause about 25,000 deaths in Europe and 23,000 deaths in the United States annually. Apart from the death toll, such infections also result in a serious financial strain on healthcare systems.
TATFAR focuses on three main areas: standardizing proper antimicrobial drugs use in medical communities, prevention of drug-resistant infections and developing strategies for production of new, improved antimicrobial drugs. One of the successful policies that TATFAR has managed to implement over the period of collaboration is the adoption of procedures to facilitate international communication of critical events that might indicate new resistance trends with global public health implications, the report revealed.
TATFAR has also published a report called "Challenges and solutions in the development of new diagnostic tests to combat antimicrobial resistance." In addition, it has been running workshops and presentations in the scientific community on both sides of the Atlantic, outlining funding opportunities for research into the field. The taskforce will continue its collaboration until at least 2015, the report added.