Sneak Peek: What The White House Is Thinking About Antibiotic Resistance

Maryn McKenna | Wired | April 4, 2014

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST for short) is preparing a major report on the problem of antibiotic resistance. The report won’t be published for a few months, but today PCAST held one of its periodic meetings, and aired what it thinks the most important issues are going to be. For anyone who cares about our dwindling ability to fight infections, or the responsibilities of healthcare to curb antibiotic use, or the large role that agriculture plays in causing antibiotic resistance to emerge, its live webcast was a satisfying listen. (The webcast will be archived here but is not yet up.)

PCAST not only webcasts its meetings; it also runs live auto-transcription at the same time. Below is a partial text, which I screengrabbed as this morning’s meeting was going on, and edited for clarity and length. I found it interesting, and reassuring in the breadth of the policy issues being considered, particularly the attention paid to the role of agriculture — as well as the possibility of tech contributions to farm and hospital surveillance, and to drug innovation. It makes me very curious what the final report will say.

The main speaker was PCAST co-chair Eric Lander, PhD,  president and director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and formerly one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. He said: