A new WHO report, Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis, describes antimicrobial resistance and the lack of new antibiotic candidates as a ‘global health emergency’.
The report found that very few treatment options exist for antibiotic-resistant infections, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, and that most drugs in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing antibiotics which therefore only have the potential to offer a short-term solution.
“Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.”
“Research for tuberculosis is seriously underfunded, with only two new antibiotics for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis having reached the market in over 70 years,” says Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme. “If we are to end tuberculosis, more than US$ 800 million per year is urgently needed to fund research for new antituberculosis medicines”.