The emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogens is alarming the scientific community since their growth is increasing at an incredibly fast pace. We gathered a group of experts to discuss how biotech is addressing this pressing concern and what the next big thing will be in the field of antimicrobial resistance.

Achim Plum, CCO of Curetis, highlighted that for the identification of newly resistant pathogens “most of the technology is based in the late 1900s” and there’s an urgent need for new technology that can speed up the diagnostics process. He’s working to change the current situation at Curetis, a company developing fast diagnostics for pathogens.

From his experience, regulatory processes and reimbursement are some of the most pressing challenges to fight infections. He cited the reimbursement challenges in Germany, where the development of “a simple test to distinguish a bacterial infection from a virus can take 10-15 years with no clear outcome“.

Franck Lescure, Partner at Auriga, agreed with Achim and remarked that temporary authorizations or accelerated approval programs could provide a solution for these regulatory challenges. In his opinion, “the issue could be solved by changing the behavior of people working in a hospital“.

He also proposed new ways of prevention, like amoeba to decontaminate pipelines, now that chlorine is becoming less efficient. Franck highlighted that the reinvention of old techniques could be the next big thing: “phage therapy has been used for over a century without secondary effects“. He proposed the creation of phage cocktails: “with 3 to 5 phages, 90% of infections can be treated“.

Derry Mercer, Principal Scientist at NovaBiotics, mentioned the lack of investment late in the development process, which is originating a huge bottleneck. He mentioned that “there’s only one company currently in Phase III in the UK due to this funding gap“.

The sheer amount of cool innovations these experts proposed in this panel was overwhelming. Watch the video to learn how biotech can address some of the most pressing problems in healthcare.

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