The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) and the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC) are very sad to pass on the news that Professor Stuart Levy passed away on Wednesday 4 September 2019 after an extended illness. He would have turned 81 in November.
Stuart B. Levy M.D. was both a physician and researcher. He was Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology and of Medicine and Director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Amongst the many offices he held, he was a past President of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and founder of APUA which he served as President until very recently.
Stuart Levy was best known for his work on antibiotic resistance. His 1976 prospective farm study showing that antibiotic resistance elements can be transferred from intestinal flora of farm animals to workers was a breakthrough, demonstrating that the use of antibiotics as livestock growth-enhancers was a dangerous practice with significant risks to clinical care. In 1978 he discovered that the mechanism of tetracycline resistance was an energy-dependent antibiotic efflux pump. His research into multiple drug resistance revealed a regulatory locus, mar, for intrinsic antibiotic resistance and virulence among Enterobacteriaceae and other bacteria. He published over 300 papers and edited 4 books devoted to antibiotic use and resistance.
Stuart Levy championed the prudent use of antibiotics and wrote the landmark book, “The Antibiotic Paradox: ‘How Miracle Drugs Are Destroying the Miracle’” now in its second edition and translated into four languages. The ASM book “Frontiers in antimicrobial resistance : a tribute to Stuart B. Levy” was published in 2005 and is based on his work.
Stuart Levy was Chairperson of the U.S. Fogarty Center study of “Antibiotic use and resistance worldwide” and helped write the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment report on antibiotic resistant bacteria. He consulted for international and national organisations including the WHO, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine and the FDA. In 2011 he was presented with ISAC’s highest award, the Hamao Umezawa Memorial Award. Amongst many other accolades, he received the Hoechst Roussel Award for esteemed research in antimicrobial chemotherapy from the ASM and the 2012 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award.
APUA is in mourning for its founder and would like to convey heartfelt sympathy to Stuart Levy’s family and friends. He will always be remembered as the father of “antibiotic stewardship” and his legacy will live on through the activities of APUA which ISAC is honored to support.
Professor Pierre Tattevin, APUA Chair
On behalf of The APUA Board
Stuart Levy’s prophetic warnings (made during an era of plentiful antibiotics) about antibiotic overuse and the emergence of resistance have come to full fruition. He co-founded and led APUA for 37 years: it was the first organisation to address antibiotic preservation and continues to provide a strong voice in the field despite the subsequent emergence of many other organisations and groups addressing a topic which has become a specialty in its own right; that of “antibiotic stewardship”. Towards the end of last year, Stuart Levy’s retirement from APUA and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston was announced. He was a trailblazer and, in APUA, leaves a very strong legacy.
Stuart’s retirement was an opportunity for the APUA Board to review its leadership and governance and it took the opportunity to seek a partner organisation with which to synergise. This led to the merger of APUA with the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC), effective from February 2019. ISAC was founded as a charity in 1961 and, in response to the dynamic nature of the subject matter, has focused most recently on antimicrobial stewardship and antimicrobial resistance.
The boards of the ISAC Antimicrobial Stewardship Working Group and APUA have merged to form the following new APUA Board:
The continuing mission of APUA is to maximise the effectiveness of antimicrobial treatment by promoting appropriate antimicrobial use and containing drug resistance.
APUA and ISAC will retain their own identities.
The launch of APUA under the auspices of ISAC was kick started with a joint newsletter and reception during ECCMID in Amsterdam in April. A new plan of work for APUA will follow.
Read the latest APUA Newsletter - published in August 2019 - APUA Newsletter Vol 37 (2).pdf
Read the first ISAC - APUA Newsletter.