International experts join forces against superbugs

World Forum on Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance; bioMérieux commits to supporting expert-defined global priorities

More than 70 world-renowned experts in the field of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections met in Annecy in June for the 4th edition of the World HAI Forum, organised by bioMérieux, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics and leader in microbiology.

These experts in infection prevention and control, infectious diseases, microbiology and epidemiology, patient safety as well as representatives from health organisations shared their experience and expertise to define priorities to address the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is now recognised as one of the major global public health challenges of the 21st century. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates and generates significant additional healthcare spending.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, England, qualified bacterial resistance as a ‘catastrophic threat for the population’. Likewise at the recent G8 Summit, antimicrobial resistance was listed as a top priority among urgent global health challenges.

New multi-resistant micro-organisms know no borders, neither between countries nor between humans and animals, for whom cross-infection has been confirmed

Indeed, the incidence of antimicrobial resistance continues to rise as a direct result of excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals. We are experiencing the emergence of new bacterial strains, known as ‘superbugs’, that are resistant to nearly all antibiotics. These new multi-resistant micro-organisms know no borders, neither between countries nor between humans and animals, for whom cross-infection has been confirmed.

Thomas Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently issued a warning on this new type of ‘nightmare bacteria’.

During the HAI Forum, experts agreed on a certain number of priority actions to fight against antimicrobial resistance. Among them, bioMérieux committed itself to supporting the following actions:

  • assess the global burden of antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use through worldwide surveys involving an international alliance. This action is aimed at providing indicators for global measurement of antibiotic use and resistance;
  • carry out a multi-centre interventional study to document the lasting benefits of prudent antibiotic use in order to produce tangible proof and best practices to be shared among healthcare professionals.

The initial results of these efforts are estimated to be available within 18 months. As part of its long-standing commitment to public health, bioMérieux continues its investment in research and development for new diagnostic solutions that contribute to the fight against infectious diseases and a better use of antibiotics.

Emerging viral strains such as coronavirus MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), or influenza, as well as conditions inducing bacterial resistance represent a highly significant risk to public health, especially in hospital settings. Thanks in particular to such high-level scientific meetings as the World HAI Forum, bioMérieux can explore innovative diagnostic solutions to face the emergence of these new pathogens, which pose a serious threat to public health today.

Organised from 23-25 June 2013, the 4th edition of the World HAI Forum on healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance was characterised by the high-level expertise and exceptional international representation with participants from 31 countries.

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