Pres­i­dent Obama last Thurs­day signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der di­rect­ing

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the for­ma­tion of a task force led jointly by the sec­re­taries of Agri­cul­ture, De­fense and HHS to carry out pri­or­i­ties de­tailed in the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s new Na­tional Strat­egy on Com­bat­ing An­tibi­otic-Resistant Bac­te­ria, also re­leased last Thurs­day. The key goals of the strat­egy over the next five years in­clude im­prov­ing stew­ard­ship of ex­ist­ing an­tibi­otics, de­vis­ing meth­ods to ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of new an­tibi­otics, and strength­en­ing the coun­try’s abil­ity to de­tect resistant-bac­te­ria in­fec­tion out­breaks. An ac­tion plan is due from the task force by Feb. 15. As an added in­cen­tive, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion plans to award a $20 mil­lion prize for the de­vel­op­ment of rapid di­ag­nos­tic tests for health providers to iden­tify highly resistant bac­te­rial in­fec­tions at the point of care.

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