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Canadian leaders in antibiotic resistance welcome US plan

A new five-year plan to fight the critical problem of antibiotic resistance brings welcome momentum and attention to a fight that demands a global effort, say leading Canadian researchers in the field.

A new White House report lays out a five-year US plan to dedicate significant resources to overcoming the worldwide threat posed by the waning effectiveness of existing antibiotics – a growing problem that already kills thousands and poses a threat to millions more lives.

"It's great to see the US government throwing this kind of weight behind the fight against antibiotic resistance," says Gerry Wright, director of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. "The more that everyone recognizes the urgency of this issue, the more effective we can all be. This announcement is further confirmation that we are heading in the right direction. Now we need to take the momentum that we have already generated and push forward."

"It's essential that the international research community come together to address this critical issue," says Eric Brown, Canada Research Chair in Microbial Chemical Biology and co-organizer of this week's Keystone Symposium, an international conference that will bring together 150 leaders in the field in California. "There has been an explosion of resistance to antibiotics and our arsenal of antibiotics is gradually losing its effectiveness."

The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research is an international hub for innovative research into ways to discover new antibiotics, to make existing antibiotics more effective and to understand problems caused by the ways antibiotics are used in humans and animals.

The institute is home to leading scientists who are developing potential solutions with high throughput equipment and growing libraries of thousands of compounds taken from the soil and from inventories of existing compounds.

Provided by McMaster University