The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded four new contracts for large-scale clinical trials to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance.

The trials will be conducted over the next five to six years, and will evaluate treatment alternatives for diseases for which antibiotics are commonly prescribed, such as acute otitis media, community-acquired pneumonia and diseases caused by Gram-negative bacteria, which usually are resistant to first-line antibiotics.

Each clinical trial will involve a minimum of 1,000 participants who have been diagnosed with these diseases or illnesses.

The investigators will conduct the clinical trial of new regimens along with already licensed and off-patent antimicrobial therapies, to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance.

NIAID director Anthony S Fauci said that many infectious diseases are increasingly difficult to treat because of their resistance to commonly used antimicrobial drugs.

“Research to preserve the effectiveness of licensed antibiotics is a critical priority for the institute,” Fauci added.