European Parliament has recognized the role bacteriophages may play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. In the situation, where development of new effective antibiotics and new antimicrobial agents is a challenge, there is a need to develop and implement new incentives and look at alternative treatments such as bacteriophages. MEPs have also called on the European Commission to prioritize an appropriate regulatory framework for registering bacteriophages both as feed additives and as veterinary medical products as they have a great potential to fight AMR in animal husbandry.
Indeed, bacteriophages are a very promising technology, that enables the reduction of antibiotic usage in livestock production and the food chain. They are clinically effective against Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) bacterial pathogens, reduce the release of (AMR) bacteria to the environment and reduce livestock morbidity as well as economic losses. What is more, they are generally recognized as safe for humans and animals, improve animal and human health as well as reduce carbon emissions.
According to Jaroslaw Dastych, CEO of Proteon Pharmaceuticals, a Founding Member of Phage EU “products based on bacteriophage technology have already been approved as a feed additive in many countries around the world. Access to innovative phage solutions in the European Union, however, remains limited and Europe is lagging behind in this innovation.”
PhageEU has welcomed the European Parliament call on Member States to support research into alternative treatments, including bacteriophages and on the Commission to prioritize an appropriate regulatory framework for registering bacteriophages both as feed additives and as veterinary medical products. A number of dossiers for bacteriophage products have been submitted to the EU, but to date none have yet been authorized, either as a feed additive (EFSA) or as a drug (EMA).
“There is a risk that the EU will be left behind without appropriate and robust regulatory frameworks and clear pathways for authorization for bacteriophage products both as feed additives as well as veterinary medical products” concludes Jaroslaw Dastych.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognized by European Commission and Members States as one of the top three priority health threats in the EU and is killing currently 35 000 people in the European Union each year. Global numbers are even more terrifying. If no further action is taken, by 2050 the global AMR death toll could reach more than 10 million people per year. This will be more than the expected number of deaths from cancer and diabetes combined.
According to the European Parliament no single Member State can provide an adequate solution to this cross border and global issue. Only action at the EU level, based on the “One Health” approach, can deliver a clear added value. As AMR encompasses human health, animal health and the environment it requires a high level of collaboration across sectors and between countries, including at a global level.
What is PhageEU
Phage EU is a coalition of likeminded stakeholders who represent phages in industry, the scientific community and civil society. We want to realize the full potential of phages in Europe. https://phageurope.eu/
Margareta Przybyla, EU Public Affairs Advisor, email@example.com, Tel : 0032 476 591 091