IMI funds research on antimicrobial resistanceread more
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EU Research on Antimicrobial Resistance: EU Projects 2007-2010.Download Leaflet (4.92 MB)
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ECDC: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control cholera outbreak to NepalRead more
Project SynopsesDownload Leaflet (1.8 MB)
Video News Release: Restoring the Magic of a Miracle DrugView Film
Antimicrobial drug resistance
Antimicrobial resistance is a major obstacle to the treatment of infectious diseases worldwide. It has been observed following the introduction of every antimicrobial agent into clinical practice. For example, resistance of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus to penicillin was encountered in hospitals as early as the mid-1940s, only a few years after the introduction of penicillin. The global human burden posed by drug-resistant infections is difficult to quantify, but we have reason to fear that it may be enormous. In the European Union alone, the additional burden posed by resistance every year, focusing only on a limited group of health care-associated bacterial infections is in the range of 2.5 million hospital days, 25 000 deaths and economic losses on the order of €1.5 billion due to extra health care costs and productivity losses. A multifaceted approach is needed to contain and combat antimicrobial resistance, and the European Union's 6th and 7th Framework Programme fund a wide range of projects focusing on basic research, strategies for the prudent use of existing antimicrobials, development of new antimicrobials, development of point of care diagnostic tests, and vaccine development.
Basic research is the fundamental core of all research areas funded. It allows an understanding to be gained of how pathogens interact with their host and how they cause infection. It is also the basis for developing new antimicrobials and understanding how antimicrobial resistance develops. The EU supports research projects in a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi.
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Prudent use of antibiotics
The current extensive use of antimicrobials constitutes a vast selective pressure for the evolution of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. Thus, to preserve the efficacy of currently available antimicrobials, it is crucial that they be prescribed only when effective and necessary. The EU funds projects that develop new strategies for prudent use of antibiotics.
The EU funds projects that aim to develop new antibiotics, especially new classes of antibiotics. SMEs participate in such projects so as to enable any new drug candidates to enter clinical trials and eventually reach the market.
Point of care diagnostic tests
The prudent administration of antibiotics requires that pathogens and their drug susceptibility be rapidly and accurately identified prior to the implementation of treatment regimens. The EU supports projects aimed at developing rapid diagnostic tests for use in clinical practice.
The development of vaccines against resistant microorganisms is one approach to preventing the incidence of infections caused by resistant pathogens. This in turn decreases reliance on treatment with available antimicrobials. The EU supports projects investigating the development of novel vaccines.