23 June 2020

Over the last few years, much has been published on the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and its impact on antimicrobial therapy, the paucity of new antibacterial agents in the pipeline, and the various incentives and support offered to try to kick-start discovery or promote development of new agents. Undoubtedly, great strides have been made in these areas but where are we at this moment in time?

The latest edition of ACS Infectious Diseases, an antibiotics special edition, helps to answer this question by providing an interesting snapshot of the current state of affairs in antibiotic research and development through a series of papers by regulators, funders, leading institutions, and opinion leaders. Topics covered include:

  • The current state of the pipeline of new antibacterial agents
  • The different and novel approaches taken to counter AMR
  • The difficulties that have been encountered in developing new agents
  • The support and funding opportunities that have been made and are available to encourage antibiotic discovery, and 
  • The positive efforts put in place to remove, or at least lower, regulatory barriers that antibiotic developers have experienced in the past.

The outcome of this collection of papers is an informative summary of both institutional viewpoints by US, European and Japanese regulators, the World Health Organization’s AMR division, the Pew Trust, the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership amongst others, and opinion leaders who are on the frontline treating patients with AMR infections.

The bottom line is that, whilst there has been a noticeably increased effort to stimulate the discovery and development of new antibacterial agents and to align the regulatory framework for their approval, which is to be applauded, we must strive for even greater efforts and actions if we are to keep abreast of the ever-increasing threat of AMR.

Most of the papers in this ACS special issue are open access and can be accessed via the following link: https://pubs.acs.org/toc/aidcbc/6/6