WHO ‘silent pandemic’ warning: Bacteria kill too many people due to antimicrobial resistance
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of a “silent pandemic”. antimicrobial resistance from infections caused by deadly pathogens that doctors are unable to treat due to a lack of new agents.
This is stated in the preliminary issue of special presentations by Dr. Valeria Gigante and Prof. Venkatasubramanian Ramasubramanian at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases “preliminary online meeting” to be held April 15-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the main problems of modern medicine today,” says the doctor. Aaron Glatt, Director of Infectious Diseases, Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital Long Island, New YorkFox News Digital reported.
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“There is a shortage of safe, effective and inexpensive treatments for many of these serious infections,” Glatt added.
“It is very important to explore new and innovative products.”
According to the release, each year about five million deaths are associated with antimicrobial resistance.
The report notes that newer drugs that are more expensive than standard treatments are being used to treat drug-resistant infections, so poor people suffer disproportionately from antimicrobial resistance.
“More than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year in the United States, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted on its website, according to 2019 data.
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“When Clostridium difficult “To these are added a bacterium that is not normally resistant but can cause fatal diarrhea and is associated with antibiotic use, the toll of all threats in the US exceeds 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths.”
Resistant microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, develop resistance to antibiotics and antifungals when they are able to grow, even if the drug is trying to kill them.
“This does not mean that our body is resistant to antibiotics or antifungals,” the CDC website says.
What new drugs are being studied?
A 2021 WHO review found that about 27 antibiotics are in exploratory trials against pathogens designated as “critical” by the WHO, such as two bacteria known as Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The WHO considers only a small subset of the antibiotics currently being developed in clinical trials to be “innovative” enough to overcome resistance.
“Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter are always the two most commonly mentioned bacteria, although there are certainly more drug-resistant forms of Candida (yeast) infections that you could add to the list,” says Dr. Cameron Wolf, infectious disease specialist at Duke University Hospital Durham, North CarolinaFox News Digital reported.
There is also a “growing number environmental bacteria with really significant resistance – [such as] recent extensively drug-resistant shigella and ongoing outbreaks of mycobacterial abscess in municipal water,” he said.
But the WHO considers only a small subset of the antibiotics currently being developed in clinical trials to be “innovative” enough to overcome resistance.
“During the five years covered by this report, we only had 12 antibiotics approved, and only one of them, cefiderocol, is capable of working against all pathogens that WHO considers critical,” said Gigante, head of the WHO antimicrobial resistance team. drugs in Geneva. , Switzerland, in a press release.
Most strains that acquire this gene are resistant to all commonly used antibiotics, making them “superbugs”.
Experts are particularly concerned about one mechanism of drug resistance that is on the rise in bacteria worldwide. Some bacteria can acquire a gene that produces an enzyme known as New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1).
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This gene allows bacteria to become “resistant” by destroying the “last line of defense” of a class of antibiotics that treat a wide range of different bacteria known as carbapenems, which are often prescribed when other antibiotics have proven ineffective. release.
According to numerous reports, most strains that acquire this gene are resistant to all commonly used antibiotics, making them “superbugs”.
Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are the most common bacteria that produce this gene, “but the NDM-1 gene can be passed from one bacterial strain to another,” the press release said.
Why isn’t more research being done?
“Ideally, you only need an antibiotic for a short period of time, but medicine for cholesterol or an antiviral agent against HIV forever,” said Wolfe.
Pharmaceutical companies should invest in the research and development phase to find an antimicrobial agent that will fight drug-resistant pathogens, experts say.
“Look how many different statins we have that are basically identical.”
However, these drugs are just as likely to fail in this process as are drugs for other diseases, which can bring a much greater return on investment. such as cancer and heart drugs.
“The problem is a combination of scientific difficulty (they are complex drug resistance mechanisms that need to be overcome, often requiring very different drugs), regulatory complexity (the FDA approval path is long and extremely costly, and the approval path is different in each country), and economics ( it’s often just cheaper to bring “me too” drugs to market than it is to try to completely redesign a new drug),” Wolfe told Fox News Digital in an email.
“Look how many different statins we have that are basically identical,” he added.
He continued: “How many SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] medications for depression available with minimal differences compared to the previous one? However, companies can bet more heavily in this direction because high cholesterol or depression won’t turn against you.”
The last new class of antibiotics was discovered in the 1980s, and the first antibiotic from this class, daptomycin, hit the market in 2003, according to the release.
Why does resistance develop?
The overuse and misuse of antimicrobials breeds resistance. The CDC estimates that about 47 million antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient clinics and emergency departments — approximately 28% of all prescriptions in these settings — are prescribed annually in the U.S. for infections that do not require antibiotics, such as the common cold and flu.
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There is also a global trend for pathogens to develop resistance to antimicrobials much faster after they are introduced.
Between 1930 and 1950, the average time to develop resistance was 11 years, but between 1970 and 2000, it dropped to two to three years, according to the publication.
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“While the United States has much less resistance to gram-negative infections compared to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), it is only a matter of time before global travel and bacterial ingenuity catch up,” Ramasubramanian, president of Clinical Infectious The Society for Diseases of India and Consultant for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Apollo Hospital, based in Chennai, India, told Fox News Digital.