What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the AMR space into 2022?
Discovering entirely new classes of antibiotics capable of treating currently untreatable infections, creating additional push and pull incentives, and changing the narrative to realize that antibiotics are treasure medicines that should only be used when needed.
Today, 1.2 million people die each year from AMR around the globe and this is predicted to reach 10 million by 2050. We could soon be facing a post-antibiotic era where even a minor scratch could be lethal.
So, this is a very serious global problem, a silent pandemic: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02724-0/fulltext
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you like to see occur in the coming year to further combat AMR?
I would like to see AI and computers create new classes of effective antimicrobials. I dream of a future where computers can design and discover drugs on demand.
What would you like to highlight about your work/your organization for this coming year?
In our lab ( https://delafuentelab.seas.upenn.edu/ ), we will continue to strive to design and discover antibiotics using computational tools.
We have made progress recently:
Do you have any predictions for the AMR space in 2022 and beyond? Any calls-to-action you’d like to highlight?
I really hope the public opinion realizes what a big problem we are against. Once this is properly communicated to the public, I believe in our ability to solve problems.
COVID ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVtV5MTQ0F0&t=275s ) is a good example of the power of science and innovation. In record time, we were able to develop a new type of vaccine to counter the issue at hand. I think we can do the same with AMR.