In the past, for example, gonorrhea could be successfully treated using a simple regimen such as penicillin tablets. Over the years, this bacteria became resistant to all treatments used and today we only have an injectable antibiotic called ceftriaxone for its treatment.
Recognizing gonorrhea’s ability to select for antimicrobial resistance mutations and knowing that the effectiveness of ceftriaxone will also likely be limited in duration, a group of WHO researchers began searching for new drugs as alternatives for its treatment.
With this objective, GARDP was created in 2018 in Switzerland (Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership, which can be translated as Global Partnership for Antibiotics Development and Research). It is a non-profit organization financed by rich countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and the Netherlands, which aims to develop new antibiotic treatments for bacteria that threaten global health because they are becoming multi-resistant.
Normally, the process of research and development of new antibiotics involves such a long time and such a high investment that it does not attract the interest of private laboratories, especially if there is a probability that the new drug will actually be used for a short time until the emergence of bacterial strains also resistant to it.
Because of this, in recent decades there has simply been no research into new drugs for treating gonorrhea. Meanwhile, there was a significant increase in the number of cases of this STI.
Fortunately, with the creation of GARDP this scenario began to change. At the end of 2023, preliminary results were announced from the first randomized clinical trial conducted by the group testing a new antibiotic tablet called zoliflodacin for the treatment of genitourinary gonorrhea.