One benefit I have always enjoyed as an editor of JLME is learning how the symposium topic can be applied to my own life. Our summer supplement issue tackles a hugely alarming topic: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Very broadly, many medications are losing their effectiveness in killing diseases and fighting off infections, and once-effective treatments are no longer able to kill the microorganisms causing these infections. Think “superbugs” or MRSA, for example. After decades of widespread misuse and overuse of antibiotics, a costly global healthcare problem has emerged, and the time has come for a continued international effort to incentivize antibiotic innovation. How can this be achieved? The guest editors, Esther Bettiol, Judith Hackett, and Stephan Harbarth, and their co-authors address this question in “Stimulating Research and Development of New Antibiotics While Ensuring Sustainable Use and Access: Further Insights from the DRIVE-AB Project and Others.” The authors discuss several potential solutions — push and pull incentives, sustainable use strategies — and explore how particular models may work in various countries, such as Norway and the US.
Stimulating new antibiotic R&D will not be easy, quick, or cheap, but a commitment to our future health makes the effort worth it. Ways to help prevent AMR begin with small steps we can do routinely — e.g., washing our hands, taking antibiotics appropriately, and staying current with vaccines. These public health recommendations are just a starting point, but it is encouraging that at some small level we can help prevent AMR from getting worse. As editors, we hope that publishing this supplement will continue the discussion and lead to the development of new antibiotics. Enjoy this special issue and Happy Summer!