For this edition of the weekly digest, we’ve collected major news events and work CDDEP has done in the last year along with just a few of the usual highlights from the last week. We hope you’ve had a joyful holiday season and wish you a happy 2015 from CDDEP!

This week, CDDEP Director Ramanan Laxminarayan was featured on the IMF Surveys Magazine podcast for an episode titled “The Cost of Antibiotic Resistance.” Senior Research Analyst Suraj Pant was interviewed for a story published in Take Part focused on CDDEP’s Drug Resistance Index, a powerful tool used to track antibiotic resistance in hospitals over time.  Last Friday, the FDA approved a new antibacterial drug made by Cubist Pharmaceuticals for use as a last-line treatment for complicated urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections. [IMF, Take Part, Reuters]

In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first-ever report on global antimicrobial resistance surveillance. The report found antibiotic-resistant infections to be a major problem in all WHO regions and emphasized the need for greater resistance surveillance worldwide. [WHO]

The West African Ebola outbreak was one of the biggest global health events of the year. Nearly 20,000 cases have been confirmed globally in 2014, with the vast majority in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. CDDEP fellow Eili Klein wrote a widely-read  blog post on Ebola entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Ebola in the US,” emphasizing the epidemiology of the virus and the need to focus on containing the disease’s spread in West Africa. [WHO, CDDEP]

President Obama signed an executive order vowing to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria in September. The order directs the federal government to implement a series of plans designed to minimize resistance in the US. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology concurrently released a report that details the current extent of the problem and recommends methods to work towards possible solutions. [The White House].

CDDEP director Ramanan Laxminarayan gave a TEDMED Talk in September titled “The Coming Crisis in Antibiotics,” which was later published online at Laxminarayan also served on a panel for a live TEDMED Great Challenges event, and this year participated in CDDEP’s first-ever twitter chat, also hosted by TEDMED. [TEDMED]

DRIVE-AB (Driving reinvestment in research and development and responsible antibiotic use), a major new public-private initiative to address the global problem of antibiotic resistance, was launched in October. The project, which CDDEP researchers will collaborate on, focuses on reinvestment in antibiotic development and economic research and advocacy for appropriate use of current antibiotics.  [DRIVE-AB]

CDDEP’s Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) has had a successful end to 2014. In November, the India project’s working group held a policy forum focused on antibiotic stewardship in hospitals. The Kenya working group began a critical partnership with the country’s Ministry of Health and had a successful second annual conference for Antimicrobial Resistance Week. [CDDEP]

The CDC’s annual Get Smart Week in November coincided with the opening of submissions for the Longitude Prize and the release of a CDDEP-authored Lancet Infectious Diseases paper on empirical antibiotic use in US hospitals. The £10 million prize fund will be awarded for solutions working towards the problem of global antibiotic resistance. The Lancet study found that despite many efforts to limit antibiotics, US hospitals are regularly missing opportunities to reduce antibiotic use. [Longitude Prize, Lancet Infectious Diseases]

Research conducted by CDDEP was featured on the front page of the New York Times in December in an article on the toll of antibiotic resistance in India. Director Ramanan Laxminarayan was interviewed for the piece, and a few days later the Times published an editorial calling for more focused work to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance in India and worldwide. [The New York Times]