Lab Capacity in Action to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

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CDC Responds to Antibiotic Resistance Threats

Laboratory tests can help guide patient treatment, detect emerging threats, and prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. CDC’s antibiotic resistance laboratory networks support lab testing in health care, the community, and the environment (e.g., water, soil). This work ultimately improves patient care, enhances public health, and informs solutions against resistance threats.

CDC implements activities outlined in the U.S. National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, released in 2015 and 2020. These activities are funded through CDC antibiotic resistance investments, collectively known as CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiative. Through these investments, CDC is transforming how the nation combats antibiotic resistance.

CDC Activities

Closing Data Gaps

  • Closing the gap between local capabilities and the data needed to combat antibiotic resistance by providing:
    • Comprehensive lab capacity and infrastructure for antibiotic-resistant germs
    • Cutting-edge technology, like whole genome sequencing
    • Data to drive response and prevent infections
  • Adding new lab samples and isolates (pure samples of a germ) to CDC and FDA AR Isolate Bank to support researchers in developing new diagnostics and more treatment options

Coordinating a Unique National Network

  • Supporting nationwide lab capacity through CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (AR Lab Network) to detect antibiotic resistance rapidly and inform local responses to prevent spread and protect people
  • Coordinating the AR Lab Network and providing technical expertise
  • Collaborating with the seven regional labs, which coordinate and complement activities done at the local and state level
  • Working across the different labs to support outbreak response and create tailored solutions
  • Coordinating the AR Lab Network and providing technical expertise

Additional Work in Progress

Examples of CDC Activities in Action

  • Since 2016, CDC’s AR Lab Networks have tested
    • More than 100,000 colonization screenings to identify if a person is carrying an antibiotic-resistant germ
    • More than 250,000 whole genome sequences to identify germs that may be related, to predict resistance, or to identify underlying causes of resistance in a germ
    • More than 150,000 antibiotic susceptibility tests and isolates characterized to identify resistance
  • Since 2011, CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network sequenced nearly 38,000 gonorrhea and tuberculosis isolates, identifying threats before they spread