Is the World Running Out of Antibiotics?
A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates there’s a serious lack of new antibiotics in development to fight the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. According to the WHO, most of the medicines currently being developed are modified versions of existing classes of antibiotics and are short-term solutions to antibiotic resistance at best. The report found few potential treatment options for drug-resistant infections identified as presenting the greatest threat to health.
Drug resistance is a worldwide health emergency – antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis (TB) alone is responsible for about 250 000 deaths each year. In addition to TB, the WHO has identified 12 other classes of priority pathogens that are becoming increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics. Some of these pathogens, for which there is an urgent need of new treatments, cause common infections like pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
The report, called Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis, identifies 51 new drugs in clinical development, but only eight of these antibiotics and biologicals are classified as innovative treatments expected to add value to therapies currently available.