It reveals that 43 AseBio partners carry out direct actions aimed at combating antibiotic resistance through different capacities
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared antibiotic resistance as one of the 10 main health threats facing humanity. A worrying challenge that each year claims the lives of 700,000 people around the world and that, if urgent measures are not adopted, will cause up to 10 million deaths by the year 2040.
The biotech sector provides transversal solutions that range from the diagnosis, research and treatment of infectious diseases to the development of innovative preventive and therapeutic strategies, through the development of vaccines, study of the microbiome or new uses of existing antibiotics.
Biotechnology is a key player in the fight against antibiotic resistance. The biotech sector provides transversal solutions that range from the diagnosis, research and treatment of infectious diseases to the development of innovative preventive and therapeutic strategies. In the context of celebrating the World Awareness Week against Antibiotic Resistance, AseBio has presented at the biobreakfast for the press held this Tuesday, the AseBio Capacity Map against Antibiotic Resistance, a tool developed by the Antibiotic Resistance Working Group that highlights the role of strategic technologies in the face of this threat.
Antibiotic resistance is a global public health problem that worsens every year, despite repeated warnings from the scientific community. Faced with the rapid spread of highly resistant bacteria that threaten not only the health of patients, but also health systems and the economy, the biotechnology industry provides innovative and transversal solutions, said the general director of AseBio, Ion Arocena.
In this sense, the map offers a detailed snapshot of the capabilities of the Spanish biotechnology sector in the face of the global threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. According to this map, 43 AseBio partners carry out direct actions aimed at combating antibiotic resistance. Most of these focus on human health, but a quarter focus their activities on animal health or do so in a transversal way (their innovations can be applied in both the field of human health and animal health).
Antibiotic resistance, a growing threat to Europe
According to the study carried out by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in 2013, 30% of patients admitted to European hospitals received treatment with antibiotics. The figure rises to 46% in the case of Spain (fifth position in antibiotic consumption in the hospital setting). Up to a third of the consultations attended in Primary Care are related to infectious diseases, so the prescription of antibiotics in these units accounts for up to 90% of their consumption.
It is estimated that in Europe there has been an increase from 685,433 infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria in 2016 to 865,767 in 2019. 71% of these infections have occurred in the hospital setting. A situation that translates into 35,000 deaths annually in Europe, of which around 3,000 occur in Spain and generate additional health spending of 150 million euros annually.
Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are one of the biggest threats to health worldwide. To address this problem, an R&D effort is necessary to characterize new molecules with antimicrobial activity against these multiresistant pathogens that affect both humans and animals. The environment can be a reservoir of these pathogens, and once a source of new solutions, so the One Health approach becomes a necessary strategy to address the fight against antimicrobial resistance, argues Rosario Cerrato, Director of Innovation at Ingulados Research.
A photograph to which Spanish biotechnology responds through multiple capacities. The map reveals that, among the total number of organizations working in the fight against antibiotic resistance, three carry out training activities, 11 study resistance mechanisms, three are developing probiotics, 23 work in the search for new antimicrobials, eight work in vaccine development and 20 partners focus their activities on the development of new diagnostic systems for the early identification of bacterial infections.
While we continue to advance on other fronts, we already know that protecting the most vulnerable with preventive vaccines will prevent more than 1.2 million deaths from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition, they would rescue 37 million days of disability for affected people each year. We need to start protecting babies and elderly people with chronic diseases, who are the ones who suffer the most from this crisis, explains Juan José Infante, CEO of Vaxdyn.
Biotechnology offers innovative, disruptive solutions to antibiotic resistance
Furthermore, the Spanish biotechnology sector is intensive in science and this is confirmed by the analysis of scientific publications published in our country in the last five years through the terms Antibiotic resistance and Antimicrobial resistance. In this sense, the map shows an increase in the number of publications in the aforementioned period: scientific publications of Antibiotic resistance have increased between 2018 and 2022 by 33% and in the case of publications of Antimicrobial resistance by 110%. .
In this sense, Daniel López, principal researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB) and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), has shared his research focused on the existence of functional membrane microdomains (FMM) in bacteria and their involvement in processes cells related to the virulence of pathogens and resistance to antibiotics.
Our work uses as a study model the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA bacteria, a human pathogen resistant to multiple antibiotics, which generates very frequent infections that are highly difficult to treat. These investigations have shown that FMM recruit many proteins involved in virulence and resistance to antibiotics. We have developed a battery of compounds that disrupt the organization of the FMM and thereby disable the antibiotic resistance proteins, he explained. These compounds resensitize bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics, allowing the elimination of infections that until now were impossible to eliminate, when administered in combination with classic antibiotics. With this strategy, antibiotic-resistant infections are combated and this is done by recycling conventional antibiotics that would otherwise be hopeless due to the high incidence of resistance in bacteria, he points out.
For his part, Juan Basterra, CEO of Mikrobiomik, spoke about MBK-01, the first biological medicine based on intestinal microbiota that has completed phase III for the treatment of intestinal infection by Clostridioides difficile.
MBK-01 will be the first antibiotic, not antibiotic, that is, with a similar effect, but based on the reset of a sick, dysbiotic microbiota, with a healthy microbiota from a validated donor. The SoC (Standard Of Care) in Clostridioides difficile infection are antibiotics and MBK-01 has been qualified by the EMA as a new active substance, positioning itself as a non-antibiotic antibiotic alternative, in a disease in which 25% of The patients present the infection again, that is, they recur, due to antibiotic ineffectiveness, he concludes.
The photograph we observe reveals that the world is already suffering the health and economic consequences of the ineffectiveness of some essential medicines. If governments no longer invest in the search for solutions, future generations will suffer the consequences of a world in which many of the antibiotics that save lives today will not be effective.
Access the Map of capabilities of the Spanish biotechnology industry in the face of antibiotic resistance
Related companies or entities
Spanish Association of Bioenterprises