Letters to the Editor - 04/11 - Scientific progress, Best of Twitter

Scientific progress

[Re: Antibiotics are in critical condition: An open culture will help us find alternatives, Friday]
The article highlights some very real concerns regarding antibiotic resistance, and rightly calls for more openness to ensure technological advances. But simplifying regulation is only one part of the solution to winning the fight against bacteria. Medical researchers, particularly in London, are making real inroads into understanding how bacteria work, evolve and become resistant. These painstaking studies take years – sometimes decades – to conclude, but offer exciting opportunities for the development of new treatments. What is holding back the translation of those discoveries into treatments is the lack of long-term finance required for development. Such investment is high risk and long term, but if we are to exploit the fruits of biomedical research for the benefits of patients, we need patient investors. Scientists around the world are dedicating their lives to understanding disease – but need financial and commercial experts to help them deliver new treatments. Where better than London to launch a new campaign to develop such treatments? The question is: are City investors ready to step up?

Professor Stephen Caddick, UCL

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