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Experts Warn Dip In Antibiotic R and D Could Lead To Treatment Challenges

The 50th annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) kicked off in Boston on Sunday with experts warning that a "slowdown" in research on antibiotic development could result in treatment challenges, Agence France-Presse reports.

"We have a big resistance problem that has become a global health crisis," Ursula Theuretzbacher of the Austrian Center for Anti-Infective Agents said at the conference. AFP added that "Theuretzbacher said thousands of people were being affected and dying from multidrug resistance, which had become a big problem in developing - as well as in - developed countries."

The article notes the reduction in scientific research on antibiotic development by 50 percent over the past 10 years, as described by Johnson and Johnson's Gary Noel, who gave several reasons for the decline. It also includes additional comments by Theuretzbacher, who proposes the creation of public-private partnerships to fill the gaps in antibiotic development funding and calls for greater regulation of antibiotics (Santini, 9/13).

"Drug resistance in bacteria, blamed on excessive and improper use of antibiotics, is not new, and health experts warn of an increasingly dangerous environment where the problem can flourish," AFP writes in a separate article. The article points to the Lancet study published last month, which identified a gene enabling bacteria to resist most antibiotics as a sign of the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

The article includes comments by Lindsay Grayson of Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, who is program chair of the ICAAC conference, who was quoted as saying on the topic of antibiotic resistance, "There is still time and plenty of opportunities to fix things."

The ICAAC meeting will run through Tuesday, September 14, with an estimated 12,000 in attendance, according to the news service (Santini, 9/11).

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