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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Diagnostics Leads the Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

The 20th century was marked by several groundbreaking innovations of such breadth for public health and patients – they offered hope to mankind of one day winning the battle against infectious diseases. Improvements in hygienic conditions, the development of vaccines and its widespread distribution, and the development of antibiotics have had a huge impact on life expectancy and quality of life. Widely used since the early 1940s, antibiotics and their role in many of our current medical miracles stretch beyond measure: not only do they allow for the treatment of common bacterial infections, but they have also made organ transplants, cancer treatments, immunotherapies, and complex surgical procedures possible.

However, the massive and inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture has promoted the emergence of more and more microorganisms developing the ability to defeat drugs specifically designed to kill them. Currently, more than 700,000 people die globally from antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including 230,000 from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (1). In fact, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently evaluated a two-decade span from 1997 to 2017 for any significant decrease in antibiotic consumption in the community of the EU/EEA and found none. Instead, they found that the overall effectiveness of antibiotics had decreased (2).

What is more worrisome is, while this long-lived silent threat is growing, the current clinical pipeline of available antibiotics (including those recently approved) is “insufficient to tackle the challenge of antimicrobial resistance” (3).

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A veterinarian specialised in infectious diseases and immunology, François Lacoste worked for many years in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically in veterinary vaccines research and development. In 2000, he joined bioMérieux, a global leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, where he is now Executive Vice President of Research & Development.
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François Lacoste
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