• en
  • fr

    • Diagnostics are the single biggest potential game changer in the fight against AMR
      Jim O’Neill
    • “A post-antibiotic era means an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
      Margaret Chan (Director-General of the World Health Organization) – 2012
    • “It is the microbes who will have the last word.”
      Louis Pasteur – 1878
    • “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.”
      Alexander Fleming

    Watch webinar on the Value of Diagnostics to enhance Antimicrobial Stewardship – A Case-based Approach (hosted by CIDRAP)

    >> Read more


    Global-PPS, a survey of antibiotic use and bacterial resistance in hospitals worldwide: 2018 results presented at ECCMID.

    Read more


    Discover our new educational brochure about AMR!


    University of Antwerp, bioMérieux, and Wellcome Trust to coordinate VALUE-Dx, a European Public-Private Partnership to fight antimicrobial resistance through diagnostics.

    Read more


    Appointment of Dr Christine Ginocchio, PhD MT(ASCP), bioMérieux VP Global Medical Affairs, as a voting member for the Presidential Advisory Council on the PACCARB for a four-year term.


    In his final report(10), the economist Jim O’Neill outlined ‘10 commandments’ in 10 big areas to summarize the top priorities to curb AMR


    World Antibiotic Awareness Week is Nov 12-18, 2018
    bioMérieux is fully committed to sustaining antibiotic efficacy for future generations.


    Standardized methodologies for surveillance were developed and described in the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System Manual, but


    bioMérieux and the University of Antwerp award scholarships to three healthcare professionals for their commitment to improve antibiotic use in order to combat antimicrobial resistance


    bioMérieux commitments in the CDC’s “AMR Challenge”, a joint public-private sector initiative to accelerate the fight against antimicrobial resistance


    Lord Jim O’Neill joins bioMérieux in a knowledge exchange on the challenge of antimicrobial resistance. >> read more


    We are proud member of @AMRAlliance! The Alliance has made strides in 2018 and calls for a coordinated response from all stakeholders to curb AMR. >> Read More


    bioMérieux signed the AMR Declaration issued by the BIVDA >>Read More


    Antibiotic resistance exhibition developed in partnership with Musée de Sciences Biologiques Docteur Mérieux


    bioMérieux supporting the AMR Industry Alliance


    bioMérieux and LUMED sign a partnership agreement to help hospitals manage the use of antibiotics


    In 2017, new advice on which antibiotics to use for common infections and which to preserve for the most serious circumstances…


    Global Point Prevalence Survey (Global-PPS)


    Dr. Andrew Gibbons gives his point of view on the risk antibiotic resistance poses to his practice.


    CRISPR technology offers the possibility of using a bacteriophage…


    A medical thriller to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance

    Antibiotic resistance essentials



    What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism to resist the effects of an antimicrobial medicine.(1),(2)

    Antimicrobial medicines include antibiotics, antivirals, antimalarials and antifungals, which are used to treat microbial infections caused by:

    • bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli, a common cause of urinary tract infections),
    • viruses (e.g. HIV),
    • parasites (e.g. Plasmodium species which cause malaria),
    • fungi (e.g. yeast),
    • and mycobacteria (e. g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis).

    What is Antibiotic Resistance?

    “Antibiotic resistance”, which can also be called “antibacterial resistance”, refers specifically to the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of antibiotics. As a result, the antibiotics no longer kill the bacteria, and bacterial growth is not stopped. This means that standard antibiotic treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of severe consequences to the person and spread to others.



    How do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?

    When exposed to antibiotics, the bacterial population is modified


    Bacteria harbouring a resistance gene (in red), which are in the minority before antibiotic treatment, survive exposure to antibiotics and become the most common bacterial population. Moreover, mutations (random changes) in the bacterial DNA may occur which favour its resistance to antibiotics, leading to the emergence of new resistance genes (in orange). In some cases, these resistance genes can be exchanged between bacteria (step 2), which eventually leads to multi-resistant strains – bacteria which are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.

    Antibiotic resistance is not a new phenomenon. Although reported only since the 1940s, resistance has existed in nature for thousands of years. It has evolved as bacteria, fungi and parasites spontaneously produce antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal substances in order to survive in competition with these other species. In fact, this is how many of the antibiotics used today — for instance penicillin — were discovered. However, over the last 50 years, an increasing number of bacterial species have developed resistance to antibiotics. Moreover, genetic analysis has revealed that certain resistance genes have recently emerged as a consequence of over-use and misuse of antibiotics in medical and veterinary settings.

    As the global consumption of antibiotics as well as international travel continue to rise, bacteria are mutating and exchanging their resistance genes at an unprecedented pace. Bacteria have the natural ability to multiply and change their genetic material (which we call “mutate”) very quickly, which can be seen as a survival mechanism that allows them to adapt to new environments. Every time we take antibiotics — or use them in animals — we create a selection pressure on resistant bacteria to survive and give them an opportunity to adapt to antibiotics.

    Once bacteria have acquired the genetic mutations needed to survive in the presence of antibiotics (i.e. resistance to antibiotics), they spread their resistance to other bacteria through two main mechanisms called “vertical” or “horizontal” gene transfer (see figure). In fact, some bacteria can transfer resistance genes amongst one another very easily.

    As a result, there is increasing concern about the rising numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are isolated from human, animal, food, water and soil samples. Antibiotic resistance emerges as much in “friendly” bacteria (which populate our skin, our mouth, our intestines and other body areas without causing disease), as in pathogenic bacteria (those which cause disease in humans and animals).

    Vertical transmissionpreface-02


    Horizontal transmissionpreface-03

    Antibiotic resistance: how does it work?

    Antibiotic resistance occurs when microbes become resistant to one or more antibiotics that are used to treat infection.

    Acquired resistance

    Antibiotic resistance can be acquired through either the transfer of resistance genes from other bacteria, or through the spontaneous development of resistance mechanisms as a means of survival.

    Gene Transfer by Vertical or Horizontal Transmission

    Vertical transmission: mutation of a gene (red) during replication, giving the bacteria the ability to become resistant to the effect of antibiotics. These mutations are then passed on to subsequent generations, leading to a population of resistant bacteria.  




    Horizontal transmission: resistant genes are exchanged from one microbe to another.

    Resistance mechanisms : how do bacteria resist antibiotics?


    graph_resistance_part01 graph_resistance_part02
    graph_resistance_part03 graph_resistance_part04
    1. Impermeable barrier: the bacterial cell membrane develops an impermeable barrier which blocks antibiotics.
    2. Target modification: modification of components of the bacteria which are targeted by the antibiotic, meaning the antibiotic can no longer bind properly to its target in order to destroy the bacteria.
    3. Antibiotic modification: the cell produces substances (usually a protein called an “enzyme”) that inactivate the antibiotic before it can harm the bacteria.
    4. Efflux pump mechanism: the antibiotic is actively pumped out of the bacteria so that it cannot harm the bacteria.