Ever since antibiotics were used commonly to treat infectious diseases, bacteria developed resistance to those antibiotics. Infections with these drug-resistant bacteria pose an enormous threat to human health and lead to massive cost for health care. The CARES programme aims at delivering novel lead compounds to refill the antibiotic pipelines.
As long as novel antibiotics were developed, infections could fortunately still be treated. However, pharmaceutical companies have largely withdrawn from the field of antibiotics, primarily due to the very poor successes of their antibiotic screening efforts. This has resulted in the so-called discovery void: hardly any novel compounds have been introduced over the past 25 years.
An "apocalyptic scenario" where people will succumb to untreatable infections or admitted to the hospital for intravenous treatment of simple infections for which oral antibiotics are not available anymore, should be avoided at all cost. This calls for novel, preferably small spectrum antibiotics with less side effects on the normal microbiota. Preferred additional properties are stability, possibilities for chemical or genetic derivatization and low resistance.
AMR is a very broad field encompassing infection prevention, “antibiotics stewardship”, and novel therapeutics. CARES focuses on the development of novel compounds and the translational science to bring these new antibiotics to the clinic.