Gröhe: Development of a new antibiotic treatment against gonorrhoea marks a major step forward

GARDP supports R & D efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance

7 June 2017. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) have drawn attention to the increase in drug-resistant gonorrhoea and the need for new drugs to effectively control it. Thanks to the GARDP, a novel antibiotic that is expected to improve the treatment of drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea has entered the final, pivotal trials. 

Gonorrhoea is among the infectious diseases that the ballooning rates of antimicrobial resistance are making increasingly hard to treat. Therefore, it is the right approach for us to drive ahead with the research and development of novel antibiotics, which is why we are pursuing the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership. The fact that, thanks to support from the GARDP, a new antibiotic against gonorrhoea has made it to the final clinical phase marks a major step in the wider fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Federal Minister of Health Gröhe

GARDP was set up in May 2016 as a joint initiative by WHO and the WHO initiative Drugs for Neglected Diseases (DNDi) with financial support from the Federal Ministry of Health. Germany has so far provided 1.25 million euros worth of seed funding to this organisation. Beyond that, GARDP currently receives support from five more countries, the European Union as well as Doctors without Borders.

GARDP’s pilot projects involve, inter alia, promoting the research and development of novel antibiotics that are effective against gonorrhoea while, at the same time, developing programmes that conserve their effectiveness for the long term. In co-operation with the U.S. pharmaceutical company Entasis Therapeutics, GARDP ‎has now advanced the new antibiotic against gonorrhoea to the stage of pivotal trials. Moreover, access to this medicine by low- and middle-income countries is to be guaranteed, as well.

At 78 million cases per year, gonorrhoea is the second most common STD worldwide. This bacterial infection mainly causes inflammation of the reproductive system, involving potentially serious complications that disproportionately affect female patients. Moreover, the disease raises the risk of HIV infection. A current study of the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the rising prevalence of the drug-resistant gonorrhoea pathogen is making the disease ever harder and, in some cases, even impossible to treat. Novel antibiotics are currently inexistent. Overall, only three potential candidate compounds are moving through different phases of clinical testing. 

Combating antimicrobial resistance and promoting the research and development of new antibiotics is among the major health topics of Germany’s G20 Presidency. By embracing these topics, the Federal Government continues its efforts to enhance global health.