Twilight of the Antibiotics Era: A New Challenge for Humanity

Twilight of the Antibiotics Era: A New Challenge for Humanity

3 June, 10:00–11:15

Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have saved hundreds of millions of lives – yet we take them for granted. Today, antibiotic-resistant infections kill up to 100,000 patients in American hospitals annually, 80,000 in China, and 25,000 in Europe and by 2050, infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics are projected to kill up to 10 million people globally every year – more than cancer. The fact that many bacteria have adapted to treatments is the result of the uncontrolled use of antibiotics ‘to treat the common cold’, as well as their use in the manufacture of cosmetics, farming products, and supposed ‘preventative measures’, while many pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to invest in developing new generations of antibiotics, citing low rates of return. What must be done to counter this new threat, and could viruses be instrumental in the battle against bacteria? Do new kinds of infection and antibiotic resistance pose a real risk to the average person? What should the state do to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to produce new generations of antibiotics? How can the use of antibiotics be brought under control? What further steps should be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases?


Key moments

We need to make sure that we use antibiotics more carefully and in lower volumes, that we don’t pollute environment and invest in developing new antibiotics.
James Anderson
Chair, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Network; Head of Corporate Government Affairs, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)
It takes 10 minutes for the formation of a new generation of bacteria and it takes us 10 years to develop a new antibiotic. It is a tough fight.
Steffen Brygger Lund
Vice President, Head of Nordic, Russia and Baltic Region, MSD
We need proper regulatory control and dividing antibiotics into three groups depending on their class: approved for use in medicine; approved for use in agriculture; and last-hope medications approved for use exclusively in specialized infectious disease hospitals.
Nikolay Vlasov
Deputy Head, Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor)
We need to consider the problem of antimicrobial resistance as part of the ‘one health’ approach. This is important for agriculture and for food product manufacturing.
Lyalya Gabbasova
Member of Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, The United Nations Organizations
From the point of view of businesses, what is required is, on the one hand, investing in new R&D and, on the other hand, responsible commercialisation.
Vasily Ignatiev
General Director, R-Pharm JSC
We should deal with the cause, not the effect: we should try to block microorganisms’ adaptive capabilities. This is a task for fundamental science.
Alexey Tutelyan
Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
Self-care is a matter of awareness of what people should do and should not do about their health. […] Authorities should clearly guideline what is self-care, give understanding to the population and align this with healthcare professionals
Niels Hessmann
General Director, Bayer; General Representative, Russia and CIS, Bayer
Development of antimicrobials is a key component of the fight against antibiotic resistance. It has to be a joint effort – not only at the scale of the company or at the scale of the state.
Olivier Charmeil
Executive Vice President and General Manager, General Medicines and Emerging Markets, Sanofi
There is a call for true collaboration between all the stakeholders – governments, healthcare providers, farming industry, veterinary, medicine and even the patients.
Steffen Brygger Lund
Vice President, Head of Nordic, Russia and Baltic Region, MSD