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Novel drugs to fight pathogens

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing public health issue with consequences for both human and veterinary medicine. A European study addressed the urgent need for new drugs and the demand for skilled scientists specialised in antibacterial drug discovery.

Fundamental Research
Health

Accumulating evidence indicates that antimicrobial resistance may be transmitted from animals to humans through contaminated food or direct exposure to living animals. This has put the use of antimicrobials in livestock production into question and has emphasised the need for alternative measures to limit the risk of zoonotic transmission. Optimisation of antimicrobial use in animals alongside veterinary-specific drugs has been proposed as strategies to manage bacterial infections. The EU-funded TRAIN-ASAP initiative addressed the issue of antimicrobial resistance by recognising that the health of humans and animals are interconnected. The consortium trained 12 early stage researchers in the scientific and complementary skills needed to implement a broad range of antibacterial strategies. The programme combined both academic and industrial work and aimed to provide a wide range of technological and professional skills to the next generation of antibacterial drug experts. From a scientific perspective, the trainees worked towards the development of new antibacterial drugs. They synthesised and characterised a number of cyclic antimicrobial peptides against key human and veterinary pathogens. They also explored the genus Actinoallomurus for new active compounds and screened actinomycete secondary metabolites for their ability to interfere with virulence gene expression. In another part of the project, scientists improved the efficacy of three distinct classes of existing antimicrobial classes. Efforts focused on therapy against the pathogen Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, which primarily affects pig production. Additional antibiotic and non-antibiotic strategies against streptococcal infections and other veterinary applications were generated. Taken together, the activities of the TRAIN-ASAP training programme focused on novel and sustainable solutions to address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary medicine. The work by the consortium culminated with the organisation of the first international conference on antimicrobial resistance with attendees from 15 countries. Furthermore, the newly discovered antibacterial molecules were patented and are expected to help in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Keywords

Antimicrobial resistance, veterinary medicine, TRAIN-ASAP, antibiotic, streptococcal infections

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