Antimicrobial awareness

Data from Elsevier’s abstract and citation database Scopus, reveals that five years on from the World Health Organization’s publishing of its priority pathogen list, research into the 12 families of bacteria has boomed. Since 2017, 227,808 papers have been published on the 12 pathogens. The biggest jump was seen in the WHO’s most critical pathogen, acinetobacter baumannii (carbapenem-resistant), which saw 2,450 papers published in 2021, compared to 1,348 in 2017 – a total of 11,175 across the period. Meanwhile, staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant) saw the most documents published in total with 83,165 since 2017, but saw a slower rate of increase with 11,158 publications in 2017 and 17,097 in 2021.
Published research holds the promise of helping to develop new antibiotics and address the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. This is particularly urgent given the last novel antibiotic class to make it to market was discovered in 1987. But the growth in research also presents a challenge for scientists. For the data to inform their research, prevent duplication and accelerate drug discovery, it must be discoverable and accessible.
“AMR is an urgent threat to public health. It’s encouraging that the WHO’s list has achieved its goal of ramping up research efforts for these threats, but scientists could now face the barrier of too much data to make it actionable,” commented Thibault Géoui, Senior Director, Discovery Biology and Predictive Risk Management,  Elsevier. “In tandem with new knowledge being published, we need new approaches to ensure that scientists can apply it to their research. We’ve seen how technologies such as AI and machine learning have contributed to considerable breakthroughs during the Covid-19 pandemic. To make the same great strides tackling AMR, we must arm researchers with the tools to better manage data and accelerate the discovery of new antimicrobials.”

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