World is running out of antibiotics, warns WHO report

World is running out of antibiotics, warns WHO report

There are too few new antibiotics in the world to fight the threat of drug-resistant infections, a report by the World Health Organization states.

Too few antibiotics are in the pipeline to tackle the global crisis of drug resistance, which is responsible for the rise of nearly untreatable infections around the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns.

Most of the drugs now being developed to combat antimicrobial resistance are only modifications of existing antibiotics which are just short-term solutions.

The impending problem puts millions of people at risk of life-threatening, debilitating and transmissible illnesses including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis which is on the rise and already kills some 250,000 people each year, according to the WHO.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardise progress in modern medicine", said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

Among them is drug resistant Tuberculosis, which kills a quarter of a million people a year, as well as bacteria that cause common infections like pneumonia or urinary tract infections.

The new report suggests only eight of 51 new antibiotics now in development to treat Clostridium difficile could be classified as new and innovative.

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As of this May, there are 51 antibiotics and 11 biologicals, or medical products made from natural sources, being developed, CNN reports. This happens with genetic changes in viruses, misuse or mistreatment of antibiotics and antibiotics that kill viruses, giving the super viruses more space the grow and spread.

With there not being enough new antibiotics being created, local doctors have already noticed this shortage.

"Research for tuberculosis is seriously underfunded, with only two new antibiotics for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis having reached the market in over 70 years", says Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme.

There are also very few oral antibiotics in the pipeline, yet these are essential formulations for treating infections outside hospitals or in resource-limited settings.

Earlier this month Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Wellcome Trust pledged more than €56m for this work. "If we are to end TB, more than $800m per year is urgently needed to fund research".

"WHO works with countries and partners to improve infection prevention and control and to foster appropriate use of existing and future antibiotics". To this end, World Health Organization is working on developing new guidance on "the responsible use of antibiotics in the human, animal, and agricultural sectors".

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