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Increasing resistance to medicines could see the battle against certain types of superbugs pushed into a “pre-antibiotic era”, according to a study.
The Royal Society report, Innovative Mechanisms for Tackling Antibacterial Resistance, is concerned that current policies concentrate on infection control measures such as hand washing and ward cleanliness rather than the development of treatments to combat the increasingly resistant bacteria.
Vice-president of the Royal Society, David Read, said: “Much of the debate on superbugs has focused on cleaning hospitals. This is important, but it will not deal with the fact that MRSA and other infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines we have come to rely on to treat them. We must make sure that the investment is in place to deliver the next generation of antibiotics to tackle future outbreaks of infection.”
The report looks at possible changes in regulatory conditions so biotech firms will want to invest in antibacterials; the develop of better diagnostic tools to speed up the identification of the bacteria causing an infection; and the need to continue to develop traditional antibiotics.
It also calls for centres of excellence for antibacterial therapeutics to be established, in a bid to mimic the success that such centres have brought to the fight against cancer.
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