Antibacterial resistance is growing, and not enough antibiotics are being produced to tackle the problem. Without action, we will return to the pre-antibiotic era. As many as 300 million people could die prematurely from bacterial infections over the next 35 years, unless new antibacterial treatments are developed. Existing antibiotics act against a wide spectrum of disease-causing and beneficial bacteria. Antibacterial monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) offer more targeted treatment. This specificity means that they can slow the development of antibiotic resistance, and reduce the duration and toxicity of antibiotic treatment.
By targeting conserved pathways and activating the body’s immune system, antibacterial mAbs offer more effective ways of addressing antibiotic resistance. This could extend and save the lives of patients who are infected with drug-resistant strains of bacteria. These antibodies can also improve the patient’s quality of life by reducing toxicity associated with high antibiotic doses.
Every year in the European Union, Iceland and Norway, approximately 25,000 patients die from a serious resistant bacterial infection – most of them in hospital. Antibacterial mAbs have the potential to reduce the number of hospital days and money spent on complications resulting from surgery. This could mean that more lifesaving surgeries could be carried out, and fewer families would be affected by the devastating loss of a family member.
Anti-bacterial resistance results in life-threatening infections. The spread of resistance could mean that the healthcare we take for granted – including routine surgery and cancer treatment – could become a high-risk process.
New antibacterial treatments could reduce the virulence of multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, and save lives. Developing antibacterial mAbs would also reduce the pressure on developing further antibiotics. Production must be incentivised by adjusting thresholds to take into account the difficulties in providing large patient population studies.