Antibiotics: Solving the Crisis
As part of the 19th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 2023 (WCP2023) this symposium will run on Monday 3rd July 2023 and update on the risks of antimicrobial resistance and offer possible solutions to the pending crisis.
In 1928, a young Scottish doctor, Alexander Fleming, from Darvel In Ayrshire, near Glasgow, came back from a holiday to his lab at St Mary’s hospital in London. He found a mould that had landed on a plate of cultured bacteria was producing a substance that killed them. The substance turned out to be penicillin. Researchers in Oxford managed to purify penicillin in the early years of the second world war. In 1941 the drug was given to Constable Albert Alexander who was seriously ill with bacterial septicaemia. His condition improved dramatically, but unfortunately there was insufficient drug to save him. However, it was clear that penicillin could work if available in sufficient quantities and by the end of the war it was produced on a scale able to save many thousands of Allied lives.
The success of penicillin catalysed a golden age in antibiotic discovery with dozens of antibacterial agents developed over a 30 year period following the war. It seemed that the bacterial infections that had previously been a leading cause of death would become a thing of the past. However, as Fleming himself had foreseen, bacteria evolved resistance to drugs and as the twentieth Century drew to a close antimicrobial resistance began to spread widely. The pharmaceutical industry, however, had largely abandoned research into new antibiotics, focusing on more lucrative conditions instead.
We stand at the threshold of a global catastrophe with the potential re-emergence of bacterial infections as a major threat to mankind. This symposium will update on the risks of antimicrobial resistance and offer possible solutions to the pending crisis.