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Lecture | Studium Generale

The Global Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance

Thursday 7 February 2019
Anna van Buerenplein
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG The Hague

The discovery of antimicrobials has been a game-changer in health care by providing a novel line of defense against pathogenic micro-organisms. Antimicrobials are either isolated from nature (often produced by other bacterial or fungal species) or chemically synthesized and target processes that are essential for a bacterium to survive. Bacteria have developed strategies to counteract the effects of antimicrobials, which in some cases leads to non-susceptibility (or antimicrobial resistance). The molecular mechanisms of resistance are as diverse as the antibiotics themselves. As a result of the selective pressure by the use of antimicrobials in therapy and as a prophylactic in humans as well as livestock, the number of resistant strains of bacterial pathogens has greatly increased in recent years. In fact, certain bacterial diseases are on a rebound, after initially declining upon the introduction of specific antimicrobials. The rise in antimicrobial resistance has put us at the brink of a situation where certain infections will no longer be treatable. In this lecture, we will take you into the arms race between physician and bacterium, and show how antimicrobial resistance is tackled on a global level – from policy makers, to clinical laboratories, to researchers and drug companies – to provide context for the discussion on responsible use of antimicrobials.


Dr Wiep Klaas Smits, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology, Center for Infectious Diseases, LUMC


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