Antibiotic Discovery and Resistance: The Chase and the Race

  30 January 2022

The history of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) evolution and the diversity of the environmental resistome indicate that AMR is an ancient natural phenomenon. Acquired resistance is a public health concern influenced by the anthropogenic use of antibiotics, leading to the selection of resistant genes. Data show that AMR is spreading globally at different rates, outpacing all efforts to mitigate this crisis. The search for new antibiotic classes is one of the key strategies in the fight against AMR. Since the 1980s, newly marketed antibiotics were either modifications or improvements of known molecules. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the current pipeline as bleak, and warns about the scarcity of new leads. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the pre-clinical and clinical pipeline indicates that few antibiotics may reach the market in a few years, predominantly not those that fit the innovative requirements to tackle the challenging spread of AMR. Diversity and innovation are the mainstays to cope with the rapid evolution of AMR. The discovery and development of antibiotics must address resistance to old and novel antibiotics. Here, we review the history and challenges of antibiotics discovery and describe different innovative new leads mechanisms expected to replenish the pipeline, while maintaining a promising possibility to shift the chase and the race between the spread of AMR, preserving antibiotic effectiveness, and meeting innovative leads requirements.

Further reading: Antibiotics
Author(s): Katia Iskander et al
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