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Infectious diseases account for about one-quarter of all deaths worldwide. Since the introduction of penicillin in the 1940s, antibiotics have occupied a central place in the treatment of bacterial infections and make possible many of the procedures of modern medicine such as cancer chemotherapy, organ transplantation and the care of premature babies. Although there have been major advances in research into, and treatment of, many communicable diseases, continuing progress in tackling these major challenges for public health is threatened by the dramatic increase in the number and distribution worldwide of pathogens resistant to antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal) drugs. For example, a recent report by the UK Chief Medical Officer concludes that “antimicrobial resistance poses catastrophic threat”. The latest G8 Science Ministers Statement (2013) focused on the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and the World Health Organisation expressed concern that this rapidly growing problem may impede progress towards the Millennium Development Goals 2015. The global pandemic of antibiotic resistance in both community care and hospital-associated infections represents a major health and economic burden and this crisis is being exacerbated by a relative lack of innovation in generating new antibiotics: we are in danger of returning to a pre-antibiotic era.
Stellv. Abteilungsleiterin Internationale Akademiennetzwerke (IAP, EASAC)
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