Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Are A "Global Health Emergency"

WHO is warning that antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency

When the World Health Organisation (WHO) issues a desperate plea for new antibiotics not once, but twice in the space of a few months, you know that things are serious. Only 33 of the antibiotics target priority pathogens.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine", Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said in an announcement. Drug-resistant tuberculosis kills around 250,000 people every year. The other 25 are variations of existing antibiotics, and will only serve as short-term solutions since scientists expect the bacteria to quickly adapt and develop resistance to them, according to the WHO.

To put the challenge facing pharmaceutical researchers into perspective, World Health Organization said that over the past 70 years, only two new antibiotics for treatment of drug-resistant TB have reached the market. An example of this drug-resistant tuberculosis, a disease for which no drug has yet been developed.

But initially, there was no investor interest in the antibiotic, Summit management told MarketWatch early this year, and early development through a phase 2 clinical trial was supported by United Kingdom -based charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust. Of these, four are in phase 1, and only one compound is in phase 3.

Ed Whiting, director of policy at the Wellcome Trust, added: 'There is no doubt of the urgency - the world is running out of effective antibiotics and drug-resistant infections already kill 700,000 people a year globally. "Novel treatment regimens of short duration that are assembling non-toxic drugs are desperately needed".

Specifically it points to a lack of treatment options for multi-drug and extensively drug resistant variants of TB, as well as Klebsiella and E.coli that are particularly prevalent and unsafe in nursing homes and hospitals.

There are also very few oral treatments in the works, which are essential for treating infections outside hospitals.

Despite a recent multinational initiatives like the €56m Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, WHO said that new drugs will not completely solve the problem and is encouraging greater procedures for the prevention of infection.

As of this May, there are 51 antibiotics and 11 biologicals, or medical products made from natural sources, being developed, CNN reports. Health care institutions need to channel their efforts into strengthening and improving infection control efforts, and health care professionals need to ensure that they are using antibiotics appropriately, and.

The agency also singled out gram-negative pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Enterobacteriaceae, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli, as "the most critical priority for antibiotic research and development" because "strains are emerging worldwide that can not be treated with any of the antibiotics now on the market".

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