Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose global health threat


WEB DESK: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat to our health, but only a few pharmaceutical companies are actively researching new antibiotic drugs to bring them to market.

The reason is that these drugs don’t generate enough profit to cover the high costs of research, development, and distribution.

According to DW, the Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that suitable medicines are available worldwide for patients.

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The non-profit organisation said that drug resistance is a major threat and calls for increased research into new antibiotics by pharmaceutical companies.

According to the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), there are currently only 68 active substances undergoing clinical trials worldwide, with 292 projects in the preclinical phase. This falls short in addressing the deadly increase in antibiotic resistance.

A 2022 publication in the medical journal The Lancet estimates that nearly 5 million people worldwide are affected by mortality and morbidity due to antimicrobial resistance. The western sub-Saharan region is particularly hard-hit, but the problem extends to industrialized countries as well.

The Access to Medicine Foundation urgently calls for new antibiotics and vaccines, but many large companies have ceased researching new active ingredients and medicines.

This shift in strategy could result in people in middle and low-income countries losing access to critical medications, leading to deaths from lack of treatment.

In low- and middle-income countries, many active ingredients aren’t even registered. The Access to Medicine Foundation identifies over 100 countries worldwide where these drugs are urgently needed, but the chances of new antibiotics reaching people remain low.

To address the crisis, it is crucial to discourage doctors from overusing conventional antibiotics to prevent the development of resistance. The Access to Medicine Foundation urges companies to be responsible in marketing and sales, encouraging doctors to avoid overprescribing antibiotics.

Some companies, like American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, have started sharing findings on antibiotic resistance with clinics and researchers. While there have been small advances, antibiotic resistance is developing faster than new antibiotics are becoming available.

Despite the challenges, the collective cost of a world without effective antibiotics would likely be much higher than the investment needed for more research, development, and distribution.

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