WASHINGTON – How long should medically important antibiotics be given to animals produced for food? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking for research to answer this question.

The F.D.A. has a list of 85 medically important antimicrobial drugs that lack a defined duration of use. To address the issue, the agency expanded its fiscal 2019 funding opportunity and extended a request for applications (R.F.A.) for studies that will help the F.D.A. establish more targeted use of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in animal feed.

“FY 2020 grant recipients may receive a maximum of $500,000, twice the amount previously offered in FY 2019 in order allow more versatility in the range of submission types the agency is willing to accept,” the F.D.A. said.

Currently, medically important antimicrobials administered in feed or water of food-producing animals are only available through a licensed veterinarian. Establishing durations of use of approved medically important antimicrobials is part of the F.D.A.’s antimicrobial stewardship efforts. So, from March 2 to April 1, the F.D.A.’s Center for Veterinary Medicine will accept research applications for the fiscal 2020 grant program, which could fund up to $2 million for studies that generate data the F.D.A. may use to establish targeted durations of use of medically important antimicrobials.

“Updating the dosage regimens of the affected approved animal drug products is a significant scientific and technical challenge,” the F.D.A. said. “Changes to the use conditions of these products will be based on science and available evidence, and the F.D.A. believes this R.F.A. will help generate such information.”