It is now widely recognised and accepted, that the increasing number of bacteria that are resistant to the action of currently available antibiotics – known generically as Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – is one of the most serious global healthcare threats.
Against this backdrop, the discovery and development of new antibiotics has slowed dramatically as scientific barriers to drug discovery, regulatory challenges, and diminishing returns on investment have led major drug companies to scale back or abandon their antibiotic research. Indeed, all the new antibiotics brought to market over the past 30 years have been derivatives of an existing class of antibiotic originally discovered between the early 1900s and 1984.
The more widely that antibiotics are prescribed, the higher the incidence of emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. Although reducing the use of antibiotics through appropriate stewardship will help slow this, it cannot halt it and existing antibiotics will continue to lose their effectiveness over time. Consequently, patients will continue to need new antibiotics and treatment options to combat this threat.