Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance is one of the most pressing health risks in modern times. The challenges of antimicrobial resistance are a top priority on the global healthcare and sustainability agenda. Costs related to healthcare-associated infections, of which many are related to medical devices, are rocketing and antimicrobial resistance causes the death of millions of people around the world.

Bactiguard’s infection prevention coating technology forms an important link in the healthcare value chain in the battle against antimicrobial resistance. Clinical studies have shown that the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections is reduced by 69 percent, of ventilator-associated pneumonia by 53 percent and of catheter-related blood infections by 52 percent when using medical devices with Bactiguard’s coating technology.


Antimicrobial resistance explained

Antimicrobials, which encompass antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics, serve as crucial agents in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across humans, animals, and plants.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) manifests when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve to withstand the effects of these drugs. This resistance renders treatments less effective or altogether useless, complicating infections and heightening the risks of widespread disease, severe health complications, and mortality.

While AMR naturally occurs due to genetic mutations in these microorganisms, human actions, particularly the improper and excessive use of antimicrobials, have significantly hastened this process, contributing to the global spread of resistant strains.

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria. There are different types of antibiotics, antibiotics that affect many different bacteria are considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic while antibiotics that affect only a few bacteria is a narrow-spectrum. 

Excessive use of antibiotics has led to disease-causing bacteria developing resistance to the drug. 

Through preventive strategies, healthcare-associated infections are reduced, leading to a reduced need for antibiotics. Prevention is, according to the WHO, one of the most important factors in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Resistance is the bacteria’s natural way of adapting to its environment in order to survive. When disease-causing bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, the risk increases that an infection will take longer to treat or that the treatment will not work at all. 

In worst case, the patient dies from the infection. It is important to remember that resistance is a property of the bacteria. A patient being treated with antibiotics cannot become resistant.

How AMR develop

Antibiotic resistance (AMR)

Multi-resistant bacteria also known as superbugs

When a bacterium becomes resistant to several different types of antibiotics, it is called multi-resistant (in media also often called “superbugs”). Two common terms that are often mentioned in connection with antibiotic resistance and multi-resistant bacteria are MRSA and ESBL.

Source: Newcastle University


Unlike MRSA, ESBL is not a microbe, but a resistance mechanism found in some bacteria. ESBL is an abbreviation for Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase which is a group of enzymes that intestinal bacteria can form. The enzymes break down several different types of important antibiotics in the antibiotic group beta-lactams, which means that the antibiotic loses its effect.

Several different intestinal bacteria can form these enzymes, the most common being Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella pneumoniae, but ESBL has also been detected in other intestinal bacteria such as Enterobacter, Proteus, Pseudomonas and Salmonella.

The fact that a bacterium has ESBL does not mean that the infected person will becomes sicker than from other bacteria, but the infection might be more difficult to treat. Examples of common infections where ESBL bacteria complicate the process are urinary tract infections and infections that occur after surgery and sometimes blood poisoning.

Bacterial strains that carry ESBL are more common abroad than in Sweden.


MRSA stands for multi-resistant staphylococci aureus and is yellow staphylococci bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. MRSA does not cause more or more serious infections than common yellow staphylococci, but there are fewer antibiotics to treat the infection with. 

The staphylococci are most often found in the nose, throat or other mucous membranes. They can also be found on the skin, for example in the groin and armpits.

You can be a carrier of bacteria such as yellow staphylococci on the body without having any problems, being an MRSA carrier gives no symptoms. In Sweden, MRSA remains relatively uncommon but is more prevalent abroad.

Fewer infections lead to reduced antibiotic use

Reduced infection rates leads to a decrease in antibiotic usage and an overall improvement in patient health.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a pressing global threat to public health and modern medicine, standing as one of the most critical global sustainability challenges of our time. According to the WHO,  preventing infections is now more important than ever. By preventing infectionswe can save millions of lives every year, while reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


1. European Commission. 2017. A European one health action plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).