THE RACE AGAINST RESISTANCE -
A CONTEST WITH NO FINISH LINE

A Point of View by Dalya Guris, M.D., M.P.H.
executive director, Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories

Our job is to be as diligent as we possibly can.

Dalya Guris

The fight against antimicrobial resistance is an everyday battle — I like to think of it as a war on harmful bacteria. And our work — just like the bacteria we are aiming to combat — is always changing.

Antibiotics have been extensively used for the treatment of bacterial infections ever since their introduction in the 1940s. But experience has shown us that over time, bacteria develop mechanisms to evade these important medicines, rendering treatment ineffective. It’s an evolutionary process. Simply put, a single bacterium that is able to adapt to withstand antibiotic therapy is able to survive, proliferate, and perhaps even spread to others. Tragically, once bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics in the physicians tool kit, there are limited options to fight these potentially deadly infections. My job is leading MRL’s product development teams, dedicated groups of people committed to being one step ahead in the fight against disease causing bacteria.

Our teams include discovery, manufacturing, clinical operations (which conducts studies in multiple countries around the globe), clinicians who design and review studies for efficacy and safety data, statisticians, and others. It’s a very diverse group of folks working towards the same goal — identifying unmet medical needs and making sure our medicines get to the patients who need them. Everyone understands their role in advancing that overall goal. It comes together in a harmonized, conclusive way.

It’s important that we be innovative, diligent, and agile. The work of the public health community as a whole requires global surveillance to understand how resistance emerges and spreads. The fight is a global one, not just a local one. Our job is to be diligent as we possibly can.

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