Since their introduction in the 1940s antibiotics have revolutionized medicine by making previously incurable, life-threatening infections treatable. Today routine medical achievements, including surgical interventions, joint replacements, and cancer chemotherapy are unthinkable without effective antibiotics.
However, the rapid emergence of drug-resistant bacteria and the lack of new and more effective antibiotics have resulted in a global health crisis, thus jeopardizing modern healthcare as we know it today. “In a post-antibiotic era things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill” (Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO).
According to a 2016 report commissioned by the British Government and the Wellcome Trust antimicrobial resistance (AMR) kills around 50,000 people a year in the US and Europe, and is estimated to kill more than 700,000 worldwide. In the absence of immediate global action, the study estimates that by the year 2050, 10 million lives a year and a cumulative 100 trillion USD of economic output are at risk due to the rise of drug-resistant infections.
Actelion has signed the Declaration of Antimicrobial Resistance, a call on governments and industry to work in parallel in taking comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections caused by so-called ‘superbugs’ which are becoming increasingly resistant to even last-resort antibiotic treatment options. Actelion is committed to discover and develop antibiotics with new chemical scaffolds and novel modes of action to fight against the most problematic superbugs.