New treatments and global research agenda for antimicrobial resistance

26 June 2023 | Muriel Cozier

‘…ATM-AVI, if approved, could be an important treatment option for patients with life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to almost all currently available antibiotics.’

The Council of the European Union has adopted proposals from the European Commission to strengthen EU actions against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The recommendation focuses on infection prevention and control, surveillance and monitoring, innovation and availability of antimicrobials, along with prudent use and cooperation among Member States and across the world.

To realise the recommendations, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has worked with the EU to develop a number of targets, to be met by 2030. These include a 20% reduction in the total human consumption of antibiotics, and a reduction in infections of three key antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which will apply mainly to hospitals.

The European Commission says that these targets not only confirm the EU’s international leadership on AMR, but also keeps the issue high on the agenda of the G7 and G20.

Pfizer's novel combination

In a separate development, SCI’s newest Corporate Partner, Pfizer, has said that phase 3 studies of a novel antibiotic combination have shown it to be effective and well tolerated. The treatment comprises aztreonam-avibactam (ATM-AVI) for tackling serious bacterial infections due to Gram-negative bacteria, for which there are limited or no treatment options.

The study looked at the drug combination for treating complicated intra-abdominal infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Commenting on the outcome of the phase 3 studies, James Rusnak, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Internal Medicine, Anti-Infectives and Hospital, Pfizer said: ‘We believe these data demonstrate that ATM-AVI, if approved, could be an important treatment option for patients with life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to almost all currently available antibiotics.’

ATM-AVI is being jointly developed with AbbVie. Pfizer holds the rights to commercialise the investigative therapy outside the US and Canada.

The news from the EU and from Pfizer comes as the WHO released its first research agenda for the global scientific community, which sets out 40 research topics on drug resistant bacteria, fungi and Mycobacterium tuberculosis that ‘must be answered by 2030.’

Professor Dame Sally Davies delivered the SCI Lister Memorial Lecture on the topic of antimicrobial resistance.

The WHO's agenda

The WHO has said that its Global Research Agenda for AMR will ‘catalyse innovation and implementation research, spanning the epidemiology, burden and drivers of AMR, as well as context-specific, and cost-effective strategies to prevent infections and emergence of resistance.’

The research agenda also covers the discovery of new diagnostic tests and improved treatment regimens. The agenda was developed based on a review of more than 3,000 relevant documents published in the last ten years. The WHO said that the review identified 2,000 unanswered questions or knowledge gaps, which were further consolidated and prioritised by a group of AMR exports.

‘To help preserve antimicrobials and save lives and livelihoods, this research agenda is a crucial tool for researchers and funders to prioritise research questions, and promptly and efficiently generate evidence that informs policy,’ said Dr Hanaan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director-General for AMR.

The WHO has warned that if no action is taken, AMR could cost the world’s economy $100 trillion by 2050.

Show me news from
All themes
All categories
All years
search by