Experts across the globe have warned of the perils of ignoring the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) but many European healthcare leaders have continued to ignore the warnings. However, the issue has been deemed so important, that the EU have requested ‘guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in human medicine’ from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, a draft of which is available now, pending a full report in the autumn.
A number of companies are researching the alternatives, including the most high-profile option of the use of bacteriophages; viruses that infect bacteria, and replicate within them. Many have high hopes for the efficacy of this kind of treatment, but despite the fact that they have been used since the First World War to treat certain bacterial diseases, the research has been lacking to bring them to the forefront of the fight against the rise of AMR.
It is widely thought that the problem is so massive that it will be necessary to bring in a battery of other potential solutions, many of which are being researched at the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wroclaw, Poland. However, it is feared that the issue will not be taken seriously until deaths from antibiotic resistant infections are at a rate high enough to gain media attention.