It is an honour to host the 5th World Congress on Targeting Infectious Diseases: Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2018 which will be held on May 17-18, 2018 in Florence, Italy, the town of Francesco Redi, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei. Francesco Redi was the first scientist who adversed the “Spontaneous generation theory” showing with brilliant experiments the inconsistence of that theory which Louis Pasteur disproved with new techniques in 19th century. Leonardo was a multiform mind curious of the structure of “Nature” and tried to answer to many fundamental questions not yet formalizing the scientific method that Galilei stated not much later once for all.
The interest on new methods and strategies in the struggle against infectious diseases had a strong advancement taking advantage of innovative technics and new strategies with the outcome of emergent bio-tech research. Application of these new tools not always was without hazardous consequences and even more dangerous are the unknown consequences or under estimated risks. The aim of Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2018 is to suggest the new possible applications that can avoid negative consequences considering the past experience.
This year is the 100 anniversary of the discovery by Felix d’Herelle of the Bacteriophage and the occasion is a strong alarm about the delay in the usefulness of this tool. We wonder if it is true that well applied Phage Therapy can be a strong weapon against bacteria. There is a general doubt not well explained about the efficiency of Phage to be clarified. This point has to be scientifically demonstrated and not left as a “guess”. Until now the trials had always a bug in the planning. We have to change paradigm and consider the phage not as a pill of antibiotic. The general effort to control bacteria with new techniques is growing and the number of publications in this direction is growing but not enough to resolve the even stronger risk for super bugs that can escape the control with the classic methods. A large part of the efforts is still in the path with old lines with a paradigm that is still considering the microbial world not with it’s complete environment and in the equilibrium that even d’Herelle at that time considered. He hypothesized that the illness depending from a bacterial infection of our body derived from the disequilibrium upon a bacterium and the phages controlling it.
During Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2018, We want to know if investigators and medical operators are aware of the need of new tools to be developed in the struggle against dangerous bacteria whose risk is incremented by our involuntary thoughtless use of antibiotics and other classic methods that can cause resistance. The maximum efficient tools are also the maximum economical if we think that the town of Florence with the plague of 1348 reduced of 2/3 his citizens and the economy being one of the first of the occidental world dropped and recovered only after one century. There is no comparison with that time but the economic investment to carry the research necessary to develop new methodologies is anyway too low in this phase at least in Europe considering the risk we are exposed to.
During two days, stakeholders from the academic, regulatory and industrial sectors will be gathered to discuss many hot topics. The major aim of the congress is to present the strategies to overcome antibiotic resistance. Among the strategies will be presented the recent advances of phage therapy, the different innovations to fight antibiotic resistance (peptides, enzymes, new generation of antibiotics …), the strategic role of microbiota and many other strategies.