Pune: In a recent report, ‘Antibacterial agents in clinical development’ published by World Health Organisation (WHO), it was found that there is a serious lack of new antibiotics that are under development, to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. The antibiotic-resistant infections identified by WHO are posing a great threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), which kills 2.5 lakh people each year.
The report said most of the drugs in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO said antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine.
“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,” said Dr Ghebreyesus. In addition to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, 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.
Dr Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines at WHO said pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days.
Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme said, “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. If we are to end tuberculosis, more than 800 million dollars per year is urgently needed to fund research for new medicines.”