Turning the tide of antimicrobial resistance
On Tuesday 13 September, Oslo University hospital arranged a national kick-off meeting on the important topic of antimicrobial resistance. Speakers and participants from all of Norway attended the meeting.
The kick-off meeting had invited several esteemed speakers; among them was Bjørn Erikstein (CEO, Oslo University Hospital), Arnfinn Sundsfjord (Dean of Medical faculty, University of Tromsø) and Nina Langeland (Dean of Medical faculty, University of Bergen).
Resistant bacteria will mostly affect the weakest in our society
Most of us do not need antibiotics very often. The burden of antimicrobial resistance will mainly be felt among patients in intensive care and citizens in less resourceful countries.
Anders Nilsson from Stockholm University introduced the audience to a possible solution: to use bacteriophages - a type of bacterial viruses, with important properties that are in some cases suitable to treat resistant bacteria.
Bacteriophages can be found in all environments where there are bacteria. When normal antibiotics fail to treat patients with resistant bacteria, there might be as much as 40 % chance of treatment if bacteriophages are used. In order to be successful the bacteriophages can kill harmful bacteria if they reach the site of infection in sufficient numbers.
We need to manage the resistance
Gunnar Skov Simonsen, head of the Norwegian monitoring system for antibiotic resistance in microbes underlined that “bacteria know no boarders, but they do respond to differences in management”. In order to have some success the Norwegian government and all institutions with capacity to make a difference must come together and find a good collective strategy. Antimicrobial resistance must still be viewed as a global issue in need of multinational solutions, but we must still do our part on a national and Nordic level. The Nordic countries are frontrunners in good management and should continue to hold this position.
As part of several important initiatives trying to turn the tide for the rising problem with resistant bacteria, Oslo University Hospital have made available 2 million NOK in research funds for the best projects within the field of antimicrobial resistance.