European Medicines Agency approves EMBLAVEO®

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Different pills laid out in lines

With news of a new drug approval hitting headlines in Europe, we asked Head of Science, Dr Andrew Pridmore for his take:

Aztreonam / avibactam, marketed under the brand name EMBLAVEO®, is a combination of aztreonam (a beta-lactam antibiotic) and avibactam (a beta-lactamase inhibitor) developed by AbbVie and Pfizer for the treatment of infections caused by aerobic Gram-negative bacteria. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted Pfizer an EU Marketing Authorization for EMBLAVEO® on 22 April 2024.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers antibiotic resistance to be one of the top global public health threats and has published a list of antibiotic-resistant "priority pathogens":

Priority 1: CRITICAL

  • Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
  • Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing

Priority 2: HIGH

  • Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
  • Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
  • Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
  • Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant

Priority 3: MEDIUM

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
  • Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
  • Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant


The WHO list highlights the particular threat posed by Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. These bacteria are especially dangerous in settings such as hospitals and nursing homes, for patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. They can cause severe and often fatal conditions such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia. The prospect of running out of effective treatment options for serious Gram-negative bacterial infections is a genuine threat.

Microbiology studies have shown EMBLAVEO® to be effective against this group of bacteria. Its approval in Europe provides a further treatment option for critically ill patients affected by antimicrobial resistance. However, bacteria have the potential to develop resistance to new antimicrobial agents very quickly and ongoing development of further new agents remains critically important.

Written by Dr Andrew Pridmore

At Don Whitley Scientific, our microbiology laboratory has extensive experience in antimicrobial susceptibility testing and in supporting the development of antimicrobial agents. For further information on our Microbiology Laboratory Services please visit our website, contact us via, or fill out the form below:


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