Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antibiotics: €13 million to step up EU research on antibiotic resistance

27.11.2003


Today 200 scientists meet in Rome at the EU conference on “The Role of Research in Combating Antibiotic Resistance". It was organised by the European Commission together with the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID).



Antibiotics, once hailed as a panacea to combat bacterial infections, seem to be more and more ineffective. The human body is responding less and less to antibiotics. New, more dangerous diseases, stubbornly resisting their power, are developing.

The aim of the conference is to identify future research priorities to tackle the problem of anti-bacterial resistance and human health, addressing both basic and clinical research. At the same time, the Commission is announcing that it will invest €6 million to support two major research projects in this field, with a total project budget of €12.6 million from the first call for proposals in the Sixth Research Framework Programme (2002-2006).


One of these projects looks into resistance to the major class of antibiotics in clinical use, while the other project investigates basic molecular mechanisms of resistance. The projects are being negotiated and will start in a few weeks after signing of contracts.

"People trust antibiotics to cure almost any kind of disease: unfortunately, as recent outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) show, this is not the case,” says European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.

“Antibiotic resistance is therefore the focus of research within the EU scientific funding programmes. More research for the benefit of patients is needed to make use of the wealth of information provided by more than 140 bacterial genomes known today. We must also make sure that the pharmaceutical industry continues its research into the development of new antibiotics. With more than €100 million invested by the EU over the last four years in this field, we have supported more than 80 research projects on antimicrobial resistance. We will keep up the fight to find innovative answers to this problem.”

Once "wonder drugs" ineffective today

Infectious diseases have the potential, like no other group of diseases, to spread rapidly over large distances in a short time. If no effective tools for treatment and prevention are available, they can dramatically change the lives of people and destabilise societies. The first antibiotic drugs became available in the wake of the Second World War, to save soldiers from deadly wounds. These powerful drugs soon became known as "wonder drugs" and were generously prescribed against minor bacterial infections or even viral infections, against which they have never been effective. Today, we pay the price for this complacency. In a recent Eurobarometer survey, Europeans were asked about their ‘antibiotic habits’: 38% of EU citizens had taken antibiotics in the last 12 months (45% of French and Spaniards but only 22% of Danes) out of whom 93% had a prescription.

Due to overuse and mis-use of these drugs, bacterial resistance to antibiotics is now accelerating at a disturbing rate worldwide. Previously effective antibiotics have lost their powers against a steadily growing list of resistant pathogens. As a result, the arsenal against severe, and often lethal, infectious diseases, like tuberculosis and pneumonia is rapidly diminishing.

Are pharmaceutical companies reluctant to invest in research?

Many pharmaceutical companies have pulled out from investments into research on new antimicrobial drugs. The expected sales revenues are no longer sufficient to make up for the costs linked to the development of these drugs. Many companies have instead refocused their efforts on the more profitable treatments for chronic diseases rather than short-course therapies for infections. This has contributed to making the situation worse.

Research needs

On the other hand, considerable progress has been made in recent years to address these problems thanks to gene technology. Today, more than 140 bacterial genomes are known. However, knowledge of the genetic code of an organism does not in itself generate new drugs. In the light of these developments, plans for how to make the most of European-led research in the fight against antibiotic resistance need to be drawn up. Scientists from various related disciplines will discuss some of the more burning issues at the Antibiotic Resistance conference in Rome from 28-30 November. A report and results will be published after the conference.

New research projects to be launched

Two research projects emerging from the first call for proposals on antibiotic resistance will start their work in early 2004 after signing of contracts. Both aim at a better understanding of fundamental mechanisms of resistance, which will be a necessity for future drug development.

One of these projects will look into how resistance to the major class of antibiotics in clinical use, the ?-lactam antibiotics, arises in some of the most severe hospital and community-spread infections.

The second project also looks at basic molecular mechanisms of resistance, but here the focus is specifically on Streptococcus pneumoniae, for two reasons. The first is that it is the major cause of life-threatening pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis. The other is that it is also the major cause of milder upper respiratory tract infections and large amounts of antibiotics are therefore consumed every year to treat these infections. The project will study how the bacteria manage to survive, grow and spread in the presence of an antibiotic and what factors determine whether an infection will be mild or severe.

Both projects were selected from the first call for proposals addressing various topics of antimicrobial resistance within the EU Sixth Research Framework Programme and will be presented in more detail in Rome. Three further calls will continue to strengthen the European Research Area on antimicrobial resistance research.

Michael Wappelhorst | alfa
Further information:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/conferences/2003/antibiotics

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>