Perspectives on and Need to Develop New Infection Control Strategies

  • Yong Liu
  • Linqi Shi
  • Henny C. van der Mei
  • Weihui Wu
  • Yijin Ren
  • Henk J. BusscherEmail author


Bacterial infections by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens threaten to become the number one cause of death in 2050. Therewith the optimism about infection control that arose after the discovery of antibiotics has come to an end and new infection control strategies are direly needed. Development of new antibiotics is generally considered unlikely. In this chapter, a likelihood perspective is given, for the possibilities offered by combination and smart encapsulation of existing antibiotics, use of probiotics and phage therapy, antimicrobial peptides and nanotechnology-based antimicrobials. Combination of existing antibiotics with probiotics, antimicrobial peptides, or nanotechnology-based antimicrobials may also have good perspectives for clinical infection control, also when caused by antimicrobial-resistant strains. Therewith, existing antibiotics may still be useful for several decades to come despite the occurrence of antibiotic resistance, provided further research and development of the above strategies are focused on their downward clinical translation, carried out collaboratively within academia and industry, rather than on developing and publishing yet another, new antimicrobial compound.


Antimicrobial resistance Antimicrobial delivery Nanocarriers Biofilm Nano-antimicrobials Probiotics Phage therapies Intracellular pathogens Antimicrobial peptides 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21620102005, 91527306, 51390483). HJB is director-owner of a consulting company, SASA BV. The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to authorship and/or publication of this chapter. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions of the reviewers, which have improved the presentation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Liu
    • 1
  • Linqi Shi
    • 2
  • Henny C. van der Mei
    • 1
  • Weihui Wu
    • 3
  • Yijin Ren
    • 4
  • Henk J. Busscher
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity Medical Center Groningen, University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Functional Polymer Materials, Ministry of EducationInstitute of Polymer Chemistry, College of Chemistry, Nankai UniversityTianjinPR China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology of the Ministry of Education, Department of MicrobiologyCollege of Life Sciences, Nankai UniversityTianjinPR China
  4. 4.Department of OrthodonticsUniversity Medical Center Groningen, University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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