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The Institut Pasteur: “More cooperation is needed to develop new antimicrobial drugs”

Scientists from twelve countries are taking part in a research program to identify new antimicrobial molecules. The program is coordinated by the IRAADD, an international cooperation network that includes the Institut Pasteur.

9 Feb 2022

In recent years, antimicrobial resistance has become one of the main lines of research into infectious diseases, especially at the Institut Pasteur. With this in mind, scientists at the Institut joined forces with fifty-four authors from around forty different scientific institutions to produce a “roadmap” that was published in the journal Nature Reviews Chemistry. 

This opinion piece reviews the current situation and proposes a research program to address the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. The program is based around the IRAADD, the International Research Alliance for Antibiotic Discovery and Development, whose members include the Institut Pasteur.

“Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. Consequently, antibiotics are increasingly “powerful”, which affects the good bacteria in the gut microbiota and the intestinal tract… This problem, which is spreading globally, is a sort of pandemic of multi-resistant bacteria,” explains Philippe Glaser, head of the Ecology and Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance Unit at the Institut Pasteur. 

The prevention of bacterial multi-resistance calls for more accurate initial diagnosis to select the most suitable antibiotic or indeed avoid recourse to antibiotics, as well as a general reduction in antibiotic consumption, and better hygiene. But that’s not enough.

“Developing new molecules capable of fighting multi-resistant bacteria is a challenge for researchers. Public-sector laboratories and private manufacturers must be encouraged to identify new antibiotics, bearing in mind that the return on investment is uncertain at present,” says Philippe Glaser, head of the Ecology and Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance Unit at the Institut Pasteur. 

The IRAADD has put forward a research plan to identify and develop new molecules. It calls for the development of translational science, which acts as a bridge between basic research and industrial application. The co-authors push for discussions at the international level. 

This global network is not intended to be a long-term initiative but to instigate discussions and produce opinion pieces in the hope that public/private partnerships will be set up to develop new antibiotics. A conference should take place shortly at the Institut Pasteur.

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