The bacterial challenge: time to react
There is a gap between the burden of infections due to multidrug-resistant bacteria and the development of new antibiotics to tackle the problem. • Resistance to antibiotics is high among Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria that cause serious infections in humans and reaches 25% or more in several EU Member States. • Resistance is increasing in the EU among certain Gram-negative bacteria such as recently observed for Escherichia coli. • Each year, about 25 000 patients die in the EU from an infection with the selected multidrug-resistant bacteria. • Infections due to these selected multidrug-resistant bacteria in the EU result in extra healthcare costs and productivity losses of at least EUR 1.5 billion each year. • Fifteen systemically administered antibacterial agents with a new mechanism of action or directed against a new bacterial target were identified as being under development with a potential to meet the challenge of multidrug resistance. Most of these were in early phases of development and were primarily developed against bacteria for which treatment options are already available. • There is a particular lack of new agents with new targets or mechanisms of action against multidrugresistant Gram-negative bacteria. Two such agents with new or possibly new targets and documented activity were identified, both in early phases of development. • A European and global strategy to address this gap is urgently needed.