Antimicrobial agents – such as antibiotics – have dramatically reduced the number of deaths from infectious diseases during the 70 years since their introduction. However, through overuse and misuse of these agents, many micro-organisms have become resistant to them.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) results each year in 25 000 deaths and related costs of over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses.
The situation is all the more serious because antimicrobials have become an essential tool for modern medicine. Many surgical operations could not be performed without them.