EUCAST was initiated by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the national breakpoint committees in Europe to give Europe uniform breakpoints for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. EUCAST harmonised breakpoints for all existing antimicrobials at the end of 2008. Moreover, through the cooperation between EUCAST and EMEA, several new antimicrobials have received European breakpoints through the EUCAST breakpoint process.
There is a lack of uniform antimicrobial breakpoints in Europe, both for therapy and for antimicrobial resistance surveillance, as well as a lack of a uniform European processes for setting breakpoints for new antimicrobial agents.
The main objective was to provide Europe with harmonised antimicrobial breakpoints for existing drugs and a pathway through which new drugs can receive uniform breakpoints in Europe. The EUCAST consortium also sought to cooperate with all expert groups and European agencies with an interest in antimicrobial breakpoints, and to set up a website for the dissemination of key materials.
Europe is in need of uniform breakpoints for the categorisation of bacteria and fungi in susceptible, intermediate and resistant categories for therapy with antimicrobial drugs and for the measurement of antimicrobial resistance development.