Antimicrobials, and specifically antibiotics, play a crucial role in modern medicine. These precious medicines are often taken for granted and are not only necessary to treat life-threatening infections, but are also vital to underpin most common surgical procedures and many chronic treatments such as chemotherapy and HIV and transplant medicines. They also play a crucial role in the health of animals.
The increase in bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been dramatic, and combating this growth is a top priority for global policy and public health. There is a particular concern that antibiotics are losing effectiveness faster than they are being replaced by new, innovative drugs, including both antibiotics and alternative non-antibiotic approaches to treating and preventing infections.
This innovation gap has been examined extensively and is widely acknowledged to be the result of a combination of scientific as well as commercial barriers that have impeded antibiotic development over a number of years. The scientific difficulties are formidable and traditional R&D approaches have largely failed: companies, private and public funders have invested billions of dollars over the last 20 years to discover new antibacterials, yet no new class of antibiotic for Gram-negative infections has reached approval in over 40 years.
This situation poses a unique set of challenges...
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