Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been declared by the WHO one of the top 10 global public health threats, with 1.27 million deaths occurring annually as a direct consequence. Ten years on from the influential O’Neill report ‘A review on Antimicrobial Resistance’, BioInfect 2024 will review the progress made and the technologies that are emerging to improve diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Ben Swift, lecturer in antimicrobial resistance at the Royal Veterinary College and R&D Director of PBD Biotech, is a speaker in the ‘What’s in the Pipeline’ Session at BioInfect 2024. He will be discussing the role of phages in the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the importance of ‘test of cure’ in the battle against antimicrobial resistance.
TB drug resistance a growing threat
Mycobacteria is the pathogen that causes human tuberculosis (TB). TB is the world’s most fatal infectious disease in 2021, 1.6 million people lost their lives globally and a further 10.6m contracted the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is curable if detected early, however, many patients remain undiagnosed and don’t receive treatment.
Additionally, there is a significant problem with drug resistance variants. This occurs when the drugs are given incorrectly, taken erratically, or halted before the bacteria has been killed. Patient compliance is a major problem as TB medication has very unpleasant side-effects.
Although, drug-resistant infections remain a small proportion of all cases, the high cost and long duration of treatment has a disproportionate impact on health systems. In 2021, around four per cent of new TB cases were resistant to frontline antibiotics, but these patients represented 11 per cent of all TB fatalities, with close to 200,000 deaths.
Phage-based diagnostics have potential to support the choice of treatment and to cut the cycle of infection through early diagnosis. They also have a role in ‘test of cure’, enabling confirmation that a course of treatment has been successful.
Antimicrobial resistance: the next pandemic
The organisers of the conference say that without effective tools for the prevention and adequate treatment of drug-resistant infections, the number of people for whom treatment is failing or who die of infections will increase. They explain that medical procedures, such as surgery, including caesarean sections or hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, and organ transplantation, will become more risky without effective antibiotics.
BioInfect will examine the issues surrounding the increasing threat of AMR and how it can be tackled, such as the need for greater innovation and investment in new drug development, the efficacy of new and alternative treatments and how organisations, stakeholders and policymakers can work together more effectively to combat this global issue.
The conference will begin with registration and coffee at 8.30 am on Thursday 8th February at The Spine, 2 Paddington, Liverpool L7 3FA,
The growing conference agenda and further information for the event can be found at https://www.bionow.co.uk/event/BIONOW176/2024-bioinfect-conference
Call for posters submission deadline: Friday 25th January 2024