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News | Tuesday, 29. January 2013

Academies recommend new measures in antibiotic research

Academies recommend new measures in antibiotic research

Jörg Hacker, Ansgar Lohse, Vera Cordes, Stefan Schwarz, Werner Solbach. Image: Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg.

A growing number of infections worldwide are caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics – and ever fewer effective antibiotics are available. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat infected patients successfully. The Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina have published the statement “Antibiotic Research: Problems and Perspectives”, listing recommendations that show ways to prevent the further spread of antibiotic resistance and to develop urgently needed antibiotics.

According to the WHO, the global occurrence of antibiotic resistance poses one of the greatest threats to human health. It is estimated that around 25,000 patients die each year in the EU alone from an infection with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

“This development is a cause for grave concern. Our statement focuses on the contribution by research and on the necessary parameters in society,” said Prof. Ansgar W. Lohse, spokesperson for the Working Group on Infection Research and Society at the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg. “We need genuine incentives for new and more intensive antibiotic research so we can develop medications more quickly,” he added.

“This field is a task for society as a whole,” said Prof. Jörg Hacker, President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. “Society does not only need greater research efforts and a faster translation of the findings into applications, but also dialogue on how antibiotics can be used responsibly and on how resistance can be prevented. We are setting up a round table on this topic and will invite all the relevant partners to join it.”

Members of the working group presented the statement to the public on 28 January 2013 in Hamburg. The panel members are Prof. Jörg Hacker, President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; Prof. Ansgar W. Lohse, spokesperson for the Working Group on Infection Research and Society, Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg; Prof. Stefan Schwarz, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Neustadt-Mariensee; and Prof. Werner Solbach, Director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein. The discussion was chaired by Vera Cordes (NDR).

The joint working group “Antibiotic Research: Problems and Perspectives” of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina was initiated in 2011. The full text of the statement will be freely accessible as an eBook and as a briefing paper containing a summary and the recommendations.

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