The European Commission gives the green light to an antibiotic that annihilates superbugs

The European Commission has authorized a new antibiotic designed to tackle antibacterial resistance, one of the biggest health threats facing the EU today.

The European Commission has approved an antibiotic that fights superbugs – Photo Shutterstock

Emblaveo, the drug approved by the European Commission, is developed by Pfizer. It helps treat severe intra-abdominal infections, urinary tract infections and hospital-acquired pneumonias, fighting effectively against drug-resistant bacteria.

This newly approved drug will fill an important gap where there are currently very limited treatment options“, states the Commission in a press release quoted by Euronews.

The approval comes a month after the European Medicines Agency issued a positive opinion and recommended it be placed on the market. The antibiotic was subject to rapid review by the EMA, for “its major public health benefits“.

Emblaveo is indicated for the treatment of infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria that have become resistant to many available antibiotics.

The silent pandemic

Antimicrobial resistance is often described as a “silent pandemic”. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it causes approximately 4.9 million deaths annually globally. In the European Union, antimicrobial resistance leads to 35,000 deaths each year.

The abuse and overuse of antibiotics in recent years has led to the development of resistant microorganisms, known as “superbugs“, which are no longer sensitive to usual antimicrobial treatments. This reduces the effectiveness of drugs and increases the persistence of infections, increasing the risk of spread and incurable infections.

The fight against antimicrobial resistance

In 2023, the European Council issued recommendations for stepping up the EU's fight against antimicrobial resistance, taking into account the link between human, animal and environmental health in the strategy “One health“. The main objective is to reduce the human consumption of antibiotics by 20% by 2030.

Proposed measures include improving surveillance in hospitals and long-term care facilities, strengthening infection prevention and control. In addition, the European Commission has proposed a system of transferable data exclusivity vouchers to stimulate the development of new antibiotics. Basically, the voucher would give developers an extra year of regulatory data protection, which they can use for one of their products or sell to another marketing authorization holder.

By 2050, antibiotic resistance could lead to 10 million deaths annually, according to CNN. Infections with antibiotic-resistant superbugs are becoming more common and more dangerous. One promising remedy is the use of bacteriophages, natural viruses that can attack and destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria. these “predators” microscopic ones have saved the lives of many patients and are seen as a potential solution against the rise of bacterial resistance.