WHO warns of global antibiotics emergency as patients develop growing resistance to drugs
The world is running out of antibiotics, global health leaders have warned. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that ‘antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency’.
Growing resistance to drugs that fight infections could ‘seriously jeopardise’ progress made in modern medicine, the head of WHO said. The remarks come after a new WHO report found a serious lack of new drugs in development to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Health experts have previously warned that resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer. In recent years, there has been a United Kingdom (UK) drive to raise global awareness of the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance.
If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then key medical procedures – including gut surgery, caesarean sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy – could become too dangerous to perform.
Around 700,000 people around the world die annually due to drug-resistant infections including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and malaria.
If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050. The WHO previously drew up a list of antibiotic-resistant infections posing the greatest threat to health. It has now examined new drugs in the development pipeline.
The new WHO report found few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections – including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) which kills around 250,000 people each year.
There is also a lack of treatment options for gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter and Enterobacteriaceae, such as Klebsiella and E.coli – which can cause deadly infections and pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes, WHO said.
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