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Hungarian Researcher Draws Serious Conclusions about Antimicrobial Resistance

Hungary Today 2024.04.16.

Bacteria around the world are becoming more resistant to antibiotics (antimicrobial resistance, AMR), threatening to create one of the most serious health crises, said Csaba Pál in an interview with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) on the occasion of the fourth time the researcher has won a European Research Council (ERC) grant.

The scientific advisor of the HUN-REN Biological Research Centre won the Advanced Grant category, and in the interview he talked about his achievements so far and the five-year program with the help of the EU organization.

Csaba Pál noted that the picture that has emerged so far is more than worrying, as resistance to most of the previously tested drugs has developed within moments or is already present in nature. According to the academic researcher, the developments do not bode well. He added that past and future research is important because it can help to identify and find what makes antibiotics work, even in the long term.

The expert’s current research focuses on new antibiotics from several companies that may be on the market in the near future or are in early trials. The aim is to know what can be expected from these products when they enter clinical practice.

The biologist’s preliminary results suggest that

some of the new antibiotics will not only be ineffective in the long term, but may even become dangerous,

because they create bacteria that are not only resistant but also more infectious. Over the last 10-15 years, the researcher and his team have developed methods to map the resistance of pathogens in a rapid and routine way.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial medicines. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability, and death.

Until now, the practice has been for manufacturers to introduce new antibiotics whenever older versions are no longer effective enough, but this creates a constant race and a huge economic burden. Moreover, such overuse of antibiotics also makes future developments more difficult,

as it is not uncommon for resistance to old antibiotics to develop to some extent in trials with new products that have not yet been introduced, even if the pathogens have not yet encountered them.

However, according to Pál, irresponsible antibiotic use is not the only cause of this unfortunate situation, as other types of agents and stress factors can also build up antimicrobial resistance. As he concluded: “There are antibacterial agents mixed into cosmetics (e.g. soaps) that we use all the time, and we encounter them much more often than antibiotics. (…) That is a huge danger. However, heavy metal pollution can have the same effect. Pathogens adapt to heavy metals, and the side effect of this adaptation can be antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, it is not trivial at all that it is only the amount of antibiotics used in the clinic that has a dangerous effect on humanity.. Not to mention the fact that antibiotics are also used in very high proportions in animal husbandry, also creating excellent opportunities for the spread of resistant pathogens.”

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Via MTA; Featured image via Pexels

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