Highlights from ECCMID 2021

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

From July 9-11, thousands of clinical microbiology and infectious disease experts logged on to the 31st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID). The event was completely virtual and included engaging presentations in a variety of online, accessible formats.

With an event-wide focus on major diagnostic and microbiological topics, multiple sessions centered around antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Below are some highlights from AMR-focused sessions and research that were presented during the information-packed weekend.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Implementation Strategies

One educational workshop featured presentations examining strategies regarding the effective implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs. Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO Infection Protection and Control (IPC) Task Force, presented her team’s research detailing antimicrobial stewardship implementation strategies focused on infection prevention. Allegranzi’s research discussed four pillars of IPC and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS):

  1. Teaching implementation skills to IPC professionals
  2. Including implementation strategies in IPC and AMS policymaking
  3. National and international actions to implement IPC and AMS
  4. Translational research to bridge social sciences and clinical research

Allegranzi emphasized the need for IPC and AMS implementation to increase patient safety and quality of care.

Another workshop session discussed research into a context-specific antimicrobial stewardship implementation framework. During this session, Dr. Carl Llor, Cardiff University, presented his case study on optimizing antibiotic use within primary care settings.

Llor found that 90% of antibiotics were prescribed by general practitioners, making this sector a priority for implementing AMS programs. Llor advocates for a shift in antibiotic consumption, implementation of AMS, and increased diagnostic tools to ensure more effective antibiotic treatment.

Candida auris and Antifungal Drug Resistance

Dr. Anuradha Chowdhary from the Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, presented research on the emergence of Candida auris and its increased prevalence as a healthcare-associated infection. Candida auris is difficult to treat and has become more prevalent since its initial recognition in 1996. It is currently the only yeast species that has had multiple isolates resistant to all four classes of human antifungal drugs.

Candida auris’ high level of antifungal resistance makes it an important point of study and conversation in relation to AMR. Dr. Chowdharay’s research found gaps in current scientific knowledge surrounding this yeast, encouraging further studies.

Emerging Antibiotic Treatments

Antibiotic innovation and development took center stage for many sessions, including Dr. Ursula Theuretzbacher’s presentation. Dr. Ursula Theuretzbacher, Center for Anti-Infective Agents, discussed antibiotic development projects in a review of 407 preclinical antibacterial projects from 314 institutions.

Theuretzbacher’s review reported a diverse group of approaches in the current projects, with 135 projects focused on direct-acting small molecules, categorized as “traditional antibiotics”. Nearly 40% of the projects focused on specific pathogens, which is reportedly unprecedented in antibiotic development history. Many of the current projects acknowledged the need for new antibiotic therapies, as well as pathogen-specific therapies. “Non-traditional” antibiotic approaches have also increased in popularity as strategies to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria evolve.

About ECCMID

For over 40 years, the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases has been committed to preventing infectious disease, as well as encouraging research, education, and training for medical professionals, including the annual ECCMID Congress. Sessions from the event are available on demand here, and the 2022 event will take place April 23-26 in Lisbon, Portugal.


Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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