Challenge 2: Fight Back

How to manage antibiotic resistance in European healthcare?

Unless robust action is taken now, antibiotic resistance could become Europe’s biggest health crisis.
Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem, threatening public health worldwide. It can affect anyone – irrespective of age, race, or geography.

Modern medicine relies on the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating and preventing infections, like pneumonia, from surgery, chemotherapy, and organ transplantation for examples. The tendency to overuse antibiotics means it is becoming harder to treat infections as the medication used to fight against them become less effective, leading to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

As a wider issue, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in general could potentially kill one person every three seconds and become a more common cause of death than cancer by 2050. At present, it causes 25,000 deaths per year and costs €1.5 billion in healthcare costs and productivity losses in the EU. Moreover, with increasing resistance even to last-resort antibiotics, we face a frightening “post-antibiotic” future.

It is only by working together at European and international level that we can control and attempt to reverse this problem.

The FIGHT BACK challenge tasks entrepreneurs with building innovative solutions to take on antibiotic resistance. The most effective solution must both raise awareness of the problem and also enable new devices, processes and methodologies to manage it across the EU healthcare landscape.

A lot more can be done in this regard to facilitate managing resistance across the entire healthcare system and that’s why this Challenges seeks to bring the focus away from drug development.

This challenge seeks to deliver innovative solutions for these main stakeholders: patients, healthcare providers (e.g. hospitals, primary care centres, and clinics), insurance companies.

The FIGHT BACK challenge will be addressed by the best performing non-pharmaceutical solution to fight antibiotic resistance by:

  • Developing and implementing effective surveillance systems;
  • Developing systems and methodologies for early detection of new emerging threats to predict the spread of resistant bacteria and to validate these predictions based on updated data and preventive measures;
  • Increasing infection control measures;
  • Ensuring that antibacterial therapies are used in sustainable manner;
  • Improving equitable and responsible access to antibacterial therapies.