The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the natural process of evolution through which bacteria develop resistance when they are confronted to antibiotics, rendering the available treatments inoperative. There is therefore a balance to achieve between the development rate of bacterial resistance and the rate at which we develop new antibiotics, since the more we use them the less effective they become. However, the lack of market incentives and the scientific challenges met in developing new antibiotics have triggered a divestment of many pharmaceutical companies towards other therapeutic fields, causing the development of new antibiotics to stall in the last decades.
Today we are reaching a point where the resistance is threatening to leave us short of therapeutic options against infections by increasingly resistant pathogens such as the carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In the US alone more than 2 million people a year are subject to antibiotic-resistant infections causing more than 23 000 dead. In Europe the death toll reaches 25 000 per year. By 2050 if the AMR issue is not tackled we could have 10 million deaths a year according to the most recent estimates.
Innovative antibiotics are urgently needed to provide treatment against the most worrying resistant pathogens. But if we consider the bigger picture there is also a strong need for controlling the use of antibiotics and providing alternatives to antibiotics as they are used today.