Innovative mechanisms for tackling antibacterial resistance

10 July 2008

The Royal Society held an international symposium on Innovative mechanisms for tackling antibacterial resistance on 7 March 2008. The event brought together leading academics, representatives from industry, policy makers and other stakeholders from the UK and other European countries, USA and Canada.

The report of the symposium summarises the key issues which were raised during the presentations and discussions. The document outlines the scale of the problem of antibacterial resistance and the challenges faced by policy makers. It discusses innovative approaches to help tackle the problem and how barriers to the development of novel antibacterial agents could be overcome. Key issues raised include that:

  • More efficient diagnostic tools must be developed to enhance the rapid identification of species of bacteria causing an infection as well as their resistance profile. This will enable appropriate and effective treatment to be given.
  • The potential for development of traditional antibiotics has not been exhausted. However, the development of antibacterial agents acting on/in bacteria in novel ways is vital. There are numerous scientific approaches that are promising and require investigation.
  • Venture capitalists, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies need conditions that will encourage them to invest in antibacterial agents. This can be done by simplifying regulatory hurdles and enhancing financial returns of antibacterial agents.
  • Centres of excellence should be set up to promote the wide range of expertise needed throughout the expensive and lengthy research and development process and to train a new generation of experts in antimicrobial therapeutics.