Jane Zhao ’11
Exploring Global Antibiotic Resistance
My internship at Resources for the Future was centered around antibiotic resistance policy. While I worked in DC, I co-wrote a policy brief about the possibility of using bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria) as an alternative to antibiotics and perhaps as a part of the solution to antibiotic resistance. I learned so much about antibiotic resistance (which poses a very scary threat to the health of our global society) and the multilateral approach to solving this problem. I analyzed the market for phage therapy and FDA hurdles it would have to overcome. While phage therapy seems to be a viable solution, its regulation and administration is unlike that of any other therapy that is FDA approved. After completing my 8-week stint at RFF, I travelled to China, where I collected research papers (in Chinese) on antibiotic resistance. I also interviewed a few people in hospitals and universities on the extent of antibiotic resistance in hospitals and rural areas.
I learned that antibiotic resistance is not well documented in rural areas, and that its levels are extremely high in the case studies that have been conducted. Additionally, the levels of antibiotic resistance in Chinese hospitals is often higher than those in the US. In China, I was able to gain a better understanding of the impact of cultural and social behavior and perceptions of antibiotic resistance. I learned so much about antibiotic resistance and the policy needed to combat it this summer, and I am thankful Grand Challenges allowed me to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
Simon Levin and Ramanan Laxminarayan