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WHO concerned about shortage of new effective antibiotics

None of the 43 antibiotics in development today sufficiently addresses the growing threat posed by 13 priority drug-resistant bacteria. UN News reports citing a new WHO report.

The document notes that experts have not been able to develop fundamentally new, effective antibacterial agents. «The persistent failure to develop, manufacture, and distribute effective new antibiotics is further fuelling the impact of antimicrobial resistance and threatens our ability to successfully treat bacterial infections,» said Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director General on antimicrobial resistance.

Almost all antibiotics available today are variations of those discovered by the 1980s.

Only a few drugs have been given early-stage approval by regulators in recent years «and most of these agents offer limited clinical benefit over existing treatments, WHO said, with the warning that the «rapid emergence of drug-resistance to these new agents» was a certainty.

This was despite the fact that «some promising products» were in different stages of development, as only a fraction of these will make it to market in a sector hampered by the small return on investment from successful antibiotic products, which has limited the interest of most large pharmaceutical companies.