International Events

27 - 29 June 2011

3rd Edition of the World HAI Forum on Healthcare-Associated Infections
Annecy, France | General
Location : Les Pensières Conference Center, Fondation Mérieux

bioMérieux brings together 70 leading international experts in medicine, infectious diseases, microbiology and epidemiology to propose solutions to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance

Date: Monday, June 27 - Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Venue: Les Pensières Conference Center, Fondation Mérieux, in Annecy, France

A biennial event organized by bioMérieux, the World HAI Forum will gather the world’s leading specialists in the fields of antibiotic resistance and healthcare-associated infections. Experts from Europe, North and South America, and Asia, working in the fields of human and animal health, will come together to determine the urgent measures that must be taken to control one of the most pressing issues confronting human health today: microbial resistance to antibiotics. 

Antibiotic Resistance: a serious yet underestimated public health threat

Resistance to antibiotics is not new but this phenomenon, driven by antibiotic misuse and overuse in the treatment of humans and animals, has grown to alarming proportions.
The World Health Organization recognizes this as one of today’s major public health issues and dedicated the 2011 World Health Day, April 7th, to antimicrobial resistance and its global spread. As a consequence of globalization and the increase in international exchange, the spread of multi-drug resistant organisms has risen dramatically, as illustrated several months ago by the widely publicized NDM-1 “superbug”. It is estimated that five resistant bacteria cause 25,000 deaths annually in Europe  and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes 19,000 deaths annually in the US.

However, research to develop novel antibiotics has almost ground to a halt. Some drugs are disappearing from the market, while new molecules are only in development stages and will not be available for another 5 to10 years. The pipeline of new antibiotics is declining at the rate of 30% each decade.  Doctors are very likely to find themselves unarmed to treat resistant bacterial infections that will threaten the lives of their patients.
Protecting antibiotics like we protect the environment

There is strong public awareness of the growing shortage of some of our most valuable natural resources and the ensuing scarcity issues that will impact generations to come. Antibiotics must now be considered in the same way, as a precious and fragile resource that must be protected. Every year in the United States alone, approximately 100 million doses of antibiotics are given unnecessarily.  Their inappropriate use accelerates bacterial resistance, thus fueling the problem. As with pollution, the effects of this over-consumption are invisible at first but unchecked by regulations, the misuse of antibiotics will have irrevocable consequences for the global population.

A Global Call to Action

Emulating initiatives for the protection of the environment, the international experts who will gather at the Forum want to draw attention to this growing threat. They will draft a Call to Action addressed to governments and public health authorities, with concrete measures that must be taken to control bacterial resistance. The Forum’s scientists also hope to spur public awareness and interest so that doctors and patients use antibiotics in a more responsible manner.

The Forum’s Organizer

Created in 2007, the World HAI Forum is a bioMérieux initiative. A world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, bioMérieux works closely with healthcare professionals in the three key areas of Infection Control: Prevention, Surveillance and Intervention. Diagnostic tests are paramount to success in the fight against infections with resistant bacteria.

These tests are used by microbiology laboratories, which actively participate in surveillance programs and antibiotic stewardship through screening tests, rapid diagnostic assays, resistance testing (interpretation of results and selection of antibiotics), strain typing and epidemiological surveillance. By providing real-time, actionable results that help clinicians choose the appropriate treatment, the microbiology lab contributes to curbing the spread of healthcare-associated infections and multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The Program: Ready For A World Without Antibiotics?

At the 3rd Edition of the World HAI Forum, experts will address the following questions:

Why such disparities in antibiotic prescription and consumption from one country to another?

Session moderated by Stephan Harbarth, Associate Professor and Hospital Epidemiologist, Infection Control Program at the Geneva University Hospitals (Switzerland).

What are the cultural, economic, political and social factors that explain the differences in antibiotic prescription and consumption observed in different countries? How can strategies that have been successful in reducing antibiotic use in some countries be adapted to others? Which tools need to be developed to help physicians prescribe the appropriate antibiotic or not prescribe one when unnecessary?

70% of antibiotics are given to animals: is this really necessary?

Session moderated by Seamus Fanning, Professor of Food Safety & Zoonoses, School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine, Dublin (Ireland); Jan Kluytmans, Professor of Microbiology and Infection Control, VUmc Medical University, Amsterdam
(The Netherlands).

How is the use of antibiotics in food animals controlled on different continents? What are the risks for the environment and for human health? What can be suggested as an efficient way to limit the use of antibiotics in food animals worldwide?

What have we learned from the emergence of NDM-1 since August 2010?

Session moderated by Patrice Nordmann, Chief of the Department of Microbiology, Bicêtre Hospital, South-Paris Medical School and Head of the INSERM Research Unit U914 “Emerging Resistances to Antibiotics”, K-Bicêtre (France); Timothy Walsh, Professor of Medicine, Department of Infection, Immunity & Biochemistry, Cardiff University School of Medicine (UK) – forerunners in research on the NDM-1 resistance gene; Abdul Ghafur, Doctor, Consultant in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology at Apollo hospitals (India).

Can the NDM-1 crisis be the starting point for a global corrective action plan? What has changed since the emergence of NDM-1 resistance? Considering the huge reservoir of resistant strains like NDM-1, is it possible to control the spread of multi-resistant bacteria? What urgent measures need to be taken? How can global cooperation be increased?

Are we ready for a world without antibiotics?

Session moderated by Professor Aidan Hollis, Professor of Economics University of Calgary (Canada); Thomas Gottlieb, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Concord Hospital, Sydney (Australia).

What antibiotics are in the pipeline today? What are the main hurdles for antibiotic development in the pharmaceutical industry? What strategies and incentives would best encourage innovation in antibiotic research? How can the design, management and evaluation of clinical trials on new antimicrobial drugs be improved? How can clinically useful information be obtained to evaluate the potential efficacy and safety of antibiotics?

Diagnostics at the heart of resistance control

Session moderated by Alexander Van Belkum, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, currently Global Director of Microbiology Research, bioMérieux (France).  

What is the role of diagnostics and microbiology laboratories in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria? How can diagnostics be used to make resistance control programs more effective? What new tests are needed? How can the time-to-results be shortened to avoid resorting to empiric treatment with wide spectrum antibiotics? What are the most promising developments in diagnostic research?

Europe’s role in confronting the issue of bacterial resistance and the lack of effective antibiotics

Session moderated by John F. Ryan, Head of Unit, Health Threats, DG SANCO, European Commission (Belgium)

The misuse of antibiotics and the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria in Europe. As the need for collective action emerges among European States, what are the challenges and responsibilities of a European regulatory authority?

For more information please contact:

bioMérieux Media Relations
Koren Wolman-Tardy
Pascale Merle
Tel: + 33 (0)4 78 87 20 08 or 5197