World is running out of antibiotics: WHO

Drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are mostly the modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions

GN Bureau | September 20, 2017


#World Health Organisation   #WHO   #Health   #Antibiotics  
Representational image
Representational image

There is going to be a huge lack of new antibiotics in coming future. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that there is “a serious lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.”

The report called Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis was released on Wednesday.

According to the report, drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are mostly the modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions. The report found very few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections identified by WHO as posing the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis which kills around 250 000 people each year.

Director general, WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has termed antimicrobial resistance as a global health emergency. "There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery,” he said in an official statement.

WHO has identified 12 classes of priority pathogens, some of them causing common infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections, that are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics and urgently in need of new treatments.

“There is a serious lack of treatment options for multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant M. tuberculosis and gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter and Enterobacteriaceae (such as Klebsiella and E.coli) which can cause severe and often deadly infections that pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes,” the report said.

"Pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days because we have no line of defence," says Dr Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines at WHO.

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