The battle against antibiotic resistance is heating up.
From minimizing our reliance on antibiotics, making effective use of the drugs we have, and developing new drugs – action is being taking on all fronts to fight what could be a defining health issue of this era.
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Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria survive exposure to drugs. They develop a resistance to that form of treatment, requiring new drugs to be able to kill off the disease. But no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered in 25 years and resistance to the drugs we have is growing.
The threat is real – the World Health Organisation says antibiotic resistance is “happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country”.
In the past few weeks though we have seen some significant actions announced.
The Longitude Prize – a £10 million prize to solve one of the world’s major scientific challenges – selected antibiotic resistance as their challenge. Specifically, the challenge is to develop a cost-effective, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.
Point-of-care test kits will allow more targeted use of antibiotics, and an overall reduction in misdiagnosis and prescription, allowing for a more effective use of the antibiotics we already have.
Today, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced an independent review, led by Jim O’Neill, the former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, to explore the economic issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance, including the regulatory environment, investment incentives and international cooperation.
The Biochemical Society, in our recently released Antimicrobial Resistance position statement, says that the regulatory processes for drug approval and incentives for private research must be addressed and reviewed to facilitate the development of new therapies.
Partnerships between industry and academia, and public-private partnerships, will be vital to promote research into new antimicrobials and alternatives, we say. Antimicrobials is a wider term for drugs that fight microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Hear more about antibiotic resistance at our free public lecture in Edinburgh
Join us for “Living in a post-antibiotic era: the challenge of disease resistance”, as Dr Paul Hoskisson (University of Strathclyde, UK) leads a discussion on the impending ‘post-antibiotic’ world that could soon become a reality.
The event, which takes place in Edinburgh on 15 July, will feature a panel of experts outlining the challenges that the global community faces as the drugs of today become obsolete.
Find out what it means for you and your family’s health care, and how scientists and policy makers are working together to develop innovative solutions. Ask your questions or listen to the thought-provoking discussion.