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Are Monoclonal Antibodies the Answer to the Antibiotic Resistance Problem?


James S. Lewis, PharmD, FIDSA, co-director of antibiotic stewardship, Oregon Health and Science University, discusses the need for the development of non-antibacterial options against infections, such as monoclonal antibodies.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

"One of the best things that I think we can do [to help the problem of antibiotic resistance] is consider non-antibacterial options as well, such as monoclonal antibodies, and immune modulators. [We need to be] thinking about alternative targets, and thinking about them differently than perhaps we have before because we know that every new antibiotic that we brought to market, [we will] rapidly see emergence in resistance to that antibiotic.

Thinking about alternative ways of doing things in infection models right now is really important. We’re going to keep hitting our head up against this resistance wall, and so, we need to be thinking about other things we can do to potentially get around that. Monoclonal antibodies, I think, again, are a very good example of that. There’s a lot of work and interest in phages right now as well.

I think we’re seeing some of the movement in these areas, kind of venturing out and exploring these other things, but we’ve kind of talked about monoclonal antibodies. [However,] any time you put “mab” at the end of something, it comes with a fairly healthy price tag. There’s this economic piece that kind of lurks out there as well that we can’t ignore, and we have to be willing to talk about how we incentivize the development of therapeutic agents in these areas.”

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