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
Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
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