Minister for Health, Welfare & Sport Edith Schippers has pledged to invest over
6 million in research into new antibiotics over the next 4 years. The money is earmarked for a new research programme for developing antibiotics and a new National Antibiotic Development Platform yet to be formed. The Center for Sustainable Antimicrobials (CeSAM) in Groningen is an important partner in the NADP.
As part of the Netherlands Center of One Health, the NADP will pool and enhance public-private research. Both the platform and the research will be launched later this year. Schippers announced her plans on 21 September in New York, where she was addressing a special meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations about tackling antibiotic resistance.
Resistance to antibiotics is a global threat to public health. The core of the problem is that overprescribing has enabled increasing numbers of bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. As a result, infections that are now easy to combat (such as pneumonia or cystitis) may once again become life-threatening. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that every year, 700,000 people around the world die as a result of resistance to antibiotics. No new classes of antibiotics have been brought onto the market since 1987. More research into new antibiotics or alternative preventive treatments, such as vaccines or probiotics, is desperately needed to tackle these resistant bacteria.
The national research platform facilitates close cooperation between the relevant knowledge institutes and companies involved in developing new antibiotics and alternative treatments. The most important partners are the Netherlands Center of One Health, the Center for Antimicrobial Research in Leiden, the Center for Sustainable Antimicrobials in Groningen, and Immuno Valley. As an extra incentive for discovering new treatments, the Technology Foundation STW, the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport, the Life Sciences & Health top sector and the partners mentioned above have set up a research programme, in which the Technology Foundation STW is investing € 2 million.
Tackling resistance to antibiotics has been high on Minister Schippers ’s agenda for some time, particularly in her international dealings with countries including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom , Sweden, China, Brazil, Russia and India, as well as with the WHO. She also raised the subject during the Netherlands’ Presidency of the EU during the first half of 2016. During a meeting of the Global Health and Security Agenda (initiated by President Obama ) in Washington in September 2014, the Netherlands was the leading country in the fight against antibiotic resistance. A conference of the GHSA will be held in Rotterdam in October.
Prof. Oscar Kuipers
Dr Engel Vrieling
Center for Sustainable Antimicrobials in Groningen (CeSAM; www.cesam-nnl.com)
, University of Groningen/UMCG.
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