World faces ‘antibiotic apocalypse’ unless germ resistance is tackled

Antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance could prove “the death knell for modern medicine” and lead to an “antibiotic apocalypse,” according to England’s former chief medical officer.

Ahead of the European Congress on Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, speaker Sally Davies warned of scant progress in curbing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, a growing danger that has been widely flagged in recent years.

Davies, now Britain’s Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), said on Friday the market for antibiotics is “broken.”

“Compared to 8 billion dollars of profit for cancer drugs, the 100 million loss for antimicrobials means that our medicine cabinets are becoming emptier – because of bankruptcies, not lack of scientific brainpower,” she said.

Governments must “act now,” said Davies. “For many it is already too late – they have died.”

The Group of 7 (G7) countries last month said they would spend more on researching antibiotics, with members Britain and the US earlier announcing subsidies for pharma companies to develop new drugs.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.”

While bacteria can naturally develop resistance to antibiotics over time, the problem has been “accelerated,” according to the World Health Organization, by the “misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals.”

Research published last week by Washington University claimed antibiotics were “misused” in India during a deadly recent coronavirus surge.

“Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, not viral infections such as Covid-19,” the researchers said, warning that “overuse increases the risk for drug-resistant infections.”

Source: GNA

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