April 23, 2018

US and EU Report Little Progress in Antibiotic Resistance Fight

There hasn’t been much good news about antibiotic resistance lately. A couple of weeks ago, a World Health Organization (WHO) report declared it a “problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.” Today, the five-year-old partnership between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) called the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance released its first progress report. But, there isn’t much progress to report.

Petri DishThe problem is big. In the EU, about 25,000 people die from  drug-resistant infections every year. In the U.S. the number of annual deaths is about 23, 000. Thousands more who survive win the battle after lengthy and expensive hospital stays. In the U.S., direct medical costs for treatment of these infections is about $20 billion each year, with an additional $35 billion is lost productivity. And no new antibiotics in the development pipeline. As the WHO report put it,  “A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st Century.”

The transatlantic taskforce was created to establish a U.S.-EU partnership with three areas of concentration: appropriate use of antibiotics in veterinary settings, prevention of drug-resistant infections in humans and strategies to create a pipeline of new drugs. The report’s conclusion is that there is still along way to go particularly in the areas of infection prevention and the development of new drugs. You can read the whole report on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website by clicking the link above.

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