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Benefits and Challenges of Antivirulence Antimicrobials at the Dawn of the Post-Antibiotic Era

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 1 ]


Makrina Totsika   Pages 30 - 37 ( 8 )


In April 2014, the World Health Organization announced the beginning of a post-antibiotic era and declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) a public health priority demanding global action. If no action is taken, by 2050 AMR will kill more people each year than cancer, with 10 million estimated annual deaths at a cost of $100 trillion to the global economy. New therapies to tackle multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens are urgently needed. Unlike traditional antibiotics, antivirulence drugs inhibit bacterial virulence instead of growth promising to offer a new class of superior therapeutics that will be ‘evolution-proof’ and ‘tailored-spectrum’. This mini-review discusses the latest emerging evidence on the promised benefits of antivirulence drugs over conventional antibiotics, also highlighting the challenges in evaluating these properties for each of the diverse virulence targets that are currently under investigation. The author argues that overcoming such challenges early in the development process constitutes an important step towards successfully progressing each of the expanding number of antivirulence strategies into next-generation therapies for common human and animal infections that are becoming increasingly refractory to all available antibiotics.


Activity spectrum, bacteria, drug resistance, evolution, infection, pathogen, selection, virulence factor.


Makrina Totsika at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, QLD 4059, Brisbane, Australia.

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