The programme offered sessions on crowd-drawing topics including antimicrobial resistance, susceptibility testing, antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention and control as well as sepsis, novel diagnostic techniques, emerging infections, and the microbiome. The congress also extensively covered the big four in infectious diseases HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria from different aspects. They were presented in keynote sessions, original research and in workshops. The highlights of this year’s congress included keynote lectures, the late-breaker session on clinical trial results, the award lectures and the popular year-in sessions. Disease evolution specialists Colin A. Russell held a keynote on influenza pandemics on the 100th anniversary of the 1918 “Spanish” flu. Another notable lecture was given by Nobel Prize winner Rolf M. Zinkernagel who discussed virus mechanisms to that affect immunity but also explain the success and failures of vaccines. Otto Cars showed how collective global action is needed to manage the crisis of antimicrobial resistance by balancing innovation access and stewardship. Christian Drosten addressed the emergence of novel coronaviral diseases, and George L. Daikos provided an overview of new agents with potential activity against XDR Gram-negative bacterial infections. In her keynote speech Nathalie Questembert-Balaban addressed how bacteria evolve different strategies to evade antibiotic treatments. On the final day of the congress Christopher Dye elaborated on the challenges we are facing to eliminate tuberculosis, while Colin Hill discussed the real meaning and applications of understanding microbiome data and the impact that it may have on future antimicrobial discoveries.