Every year hundreds of thousands of people die because of infections that have become resistant to treatment. A new data-mining, clinical monitoring and decision-support system, developed by EU-funded researchers, offers a powerful new weapon in the war on resistance to antibiotics.
When bacteria are first exposed to a new antibiotic they are usually quickly killed off. But over time the bacteria will evolve and adapt to resist the treatment, a problem made worse by factors such as the incorrect prescription of antibiotics, their misuse or the failure of a patient to fully complete a course of medication. Continually developing new antibiotics can therefore only go so far toward treating diseases effectively.
'Clinically, antimicrobial resistance is a huge challenge. Pharmaceutical companies simply can't come up with new antibiotics fast enough to counter the resistance of bacteria to existing antibiotics and medications,' explains Dr Dirk Colaert, Chief Medical Officer at Agfa HealthCare in Belgium.