From 18 to 24 November, the “World AMR Awareness Week” (WAAW), a global campaign proclaimed by WHO, aims to draw attention to the near-pandemic rise in infections caused by resistant microbial pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial drugs. As a result of AMR, antibiotics and other antimicrobials become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, serious illness and death. At least 700,000 people die each year from infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The WHO predicts that this number could rise to ten million by 2050 if no new measures are taken to combat the emergence and spread of resistance.
The WHO theme for WAAW 2023: "Preventing antimicrobial resistance together" is also taken up by the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). The research area "Healthcare-Associated and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections" focuses on the prevention and treatment of infections with multi-resistant bacteria. There are also projects and working groups in the other research areas of the DZIF that are working on solutions to the growing threat of AMR.
Below you will find a selection of recent DZIF research projects and experts from different research areas.
Get in touch with DZIF researchers: Research examples and press contacts
Treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis with BTZ-043
The rise of resistant bacteria also poses significant challenges in the treatment of tuberculosis. The disease is the world's leading cause of death from a bacterial infection. With BTZ-043, researchers at the DZIF and in the UNITE4TB consortium are developing a new compound that is already in clinical trials. In combination with other antibiotics, BTZ-043 could open up important new treatment options.
Prof. Michael Hölscher (LMU University Hospital Munich)
Corallopyronin A as an antibiotic against worm diseases and multidrug-resistant bacteria
Corallopyronin A (CorA) is a biotechnologically produced antibiotic derived from soil bacteria. CorA's spectrum of activity includes symbiotic endobacteria in tropical worm diseases, pathogens of sexually transmitted infections such as gonococci, which are high on the WHO's priority list, and multidrug-resistant bacteria. The translational research is currently in the final phase of preclinical testing, with the first clinical trial (phase I) planned for 2025/2026.
Clovibactin: a new active agent in the race against multidrug-resistant bacteria
A new, highly effective compound called clovibactin targets the cell wall of bacteria, including many multi-resistant pathogens. Clovibactin could play an important role in the future, particularly in the treatment of Gram-positive infections. DZIF researchers have decoded the exact mechanism of action.
Prof. Tanja Schneider (University of Bonn)
From soil sample to pharmacy? The search for new drug candidates
The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) is actively searching for new antibiotics. Candidates could be just around the corner. Soil bacteria-derived natural substances, like chlorotonil A, have the potential to emerge as crucial therapeutic options in combating the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.
Prof. Rolf Müller (HIPS and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research)
Promoting phage research and application with EVREA-Phage and TransPhage-Net
Bacteriophages are a potential alternative or complement to antibiotics. In the EVREA-Phage project, a team led by Christine Rohde is developing phage therapy specifically for immunocompromised patients.
The "DZIF TransPhage-Net" network aims to contribute to the networking of phage researchers from different disciplines in order to support translational phage research and application.
Fighting Staphylococcus aureus with HY-133
The universities of Tübingen and Munich are collaborating with HyPharm GmbH on the development of HY-133 to combat the dreaded bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. HY-133 is a highly potent bacteriophage-derived protein designed to specifically kill this common nasal pathogen.
Prof. Andreas Peschel (University of Tübingen)
Rapid diagnostic test for multiple resistance to key reserve antibiotic
It is important to detect resistance as quickly and accurately as possible to determine appropriate antibiotic therapy and limit the spread of antibiotic resistance. "RESIST ACINETO" can simultaneously detect four resistance factors to the clinically important antibiotic carbapenem and is already available as a rapid test.
Dr Alexander Klimka (University of Cologne)
Joint research: National and international collaborations
The spread of antimicrobial resistance does not halt at national boundaries. Hence, international research is required to combat it effectively. The DZIF participates in numerous collaborations to tackle the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance.
As a founding member of the “Incubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe” (INCATE), the DZIF works with partners from academia, industry and the public sector to accelerate the development of new antibacterial therapies.
The DZIF is also a part of the “German Network against Antimicrobial Resistance” (DNAMR). Founded last year, DNAMR aims to speed up the development, implementation and use of new agents through an intelligent sensible combination of research funding and market incentives.
Dr Timo Jäger (DZIF Managing Director)
Please contact the researchers directly using the contact details provided (all enquiries should also be sent with firstname.lastname@example.org in Cc). Please acknowledge the DZIF as a source in interviews and texts, including online.