Today, infectious diseases are the third-leading cause of death in the United States and even the second leading cause of death worldwide. The number of effective therapeutic measures against serious life-threatening bacterial and fungal infections has fallen dramatically because of multi-drug resistance of the invasive pathogens. Especially for children, elderly persons and immuno-suppressed patients, the situation is extremely threatening. Infections with multi-drug resistant microbes in hospitals (nosocomial infections) have become increasingly common and triggered numerous problems, with about 9 million cases worldwide and a mortality rate of around 4.5%. The follow-up costs for therapies are enormous because most of the infections appear at intensive care or post-operative areas and lead to distinctly lengthier hospitalization. A prevalence study of infections in 17 European countries has highlighted the most common hospital-acquired infections: pneumonia (40%), other respiratory tract infections (18%), urinary tract infections (18%), wound infections (12%), sepsis (8%) and other infections (4%) (source: EPIC 2006). Pneumonia, MRSA wound and blood infections and respiratory virus infections are the major problems that must be solved. Unfortunately, this issue goes beyond the hospital environment. In the recent years, numerous disease outbreaks appeared after hospitalization, resistant pathogens were transferred as dormant stowaways to a broader population. Combined with today’s increasing international mobility, this has spread dangerous pathogens worldwide.
A critical point about infections is the fact that a drug’s activity ebbs from the very beginning of its market launch. According to the cause-and-effect chain, microbes develop defence strategies with every contact to the drug. The resistant genes are easily transferred from one germ to another, the genome reconstructs and, step-by-step, the microbes become resistant. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), around 70% of nosocomial infections have become resistant to least towards one and up to 40% even against three common antibiotics. This means that a majority of effective drugs used in the past have totally lost their value and we talk now about a “post antibiotic era”. This, coupled with the rise of AMR, means that new antibiotics are urgently needed, and it is OxAG’s mission to fill this void.