The new report of the World Health Organization (WHO) says that there are only few treatment options for some of the most widespread drug-resistant infections. That’s why the development of new antibiotics is so urgent now. However, the WHO found out that there are only a few antibiotics under development which can possibly overcome drug resistance.
Dr. Suzanne Hill, director of the Department of Essential Medicines at the WHO says: “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 defense”.
The statistics is devastating: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 2 million people in the US have infected with drug-resistant bacteria annually, of whom more than 23,000 die.
As an example, Clostridium difficile is one of the most dangerous drug-resistant infections in the US: around 250,000 people have infected with it annually which results in 14,000 deaths in the country every year. Another illustrative example – drug-resistant tuberculosis – one of the deadliest infections which is responsible for about 480,000 deaths every year.
In 2015, the WHO launched a Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance to “to ensure, for as long as possible, continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective and safe medicines that are quality-assured, used in a responsible way, and accessible to all who need them.”
Recently the WHO has made a list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that constitute the biggest threat to people all over the world with the aim of helping the scientists to identify the most relevant areas for further research.
The WHO has also determined a list of another 12 pathogens that are becoming progressively resistant to currently available antibiotics. The WHO says that there are only 8 antibiotics under development now which meet the criteria for “innovative treatments” meaning that they have an absolutely new mechanism of action and therefore they can combat drug resistance.
The WHO expects that drug resistance could become a cause of death of around 10 million people per year by 2050.