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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2015 Aug;70(8):2177-81. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv157. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Reviving old antibiotics.

Author information

Center for Anti-Infective Agents, Vienna, Austria
Pharmacologie cellulaire et moléculaire, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal and Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Biomédica (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain.
Clinical Microbiology, L2:02, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Stockholm, Sweden Department of Laboratory Medicine (LABMED), Division of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboudumc Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Drug Delivery, Disposition and Dynamics, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Rambam Health Care Campus and Faculty of Medicine, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Central Hospital, Växjö, Sweden Department of Medical Sciences, Division of Clinical Bacteriology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


In the face of increasing antimicrobial resistance and the paucity of new antimicrobial agents it has become clear that new antimicrobial strategies are urgently needed. One of these is to revisit old antibiotics to ensure that they are used correctly and to their full potential, as well as to determine whether one or several of them can help alleviate the pressure on more recent agents. Strategies are urgently needed to 're-develop' these drugs using modern standards, integrating new knowledge into regulatory frameworks and communicating the knowledge from the research bench to the bedside. Without a systematic approach to re-developing these old drugs and rigorously testing them according to today's standards, there is a significant risk of doing harm to patients and further increasing multidrug resistance. This paper describes factors to be considered and outlines steps and actions needed to re-develop old antibiotics so that they can be used effectively for the treatment of infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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