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United Nations report says too few antibiotics being worked on

luchschen/iStock/Thinkstock
luchschen/iStock/Thinkstock

(NEW YORK) — A United Nations report warns that there aren’t enough new antibiotics under development to ward off the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The report, released by the World Health Organization, says most drugs currently in the pipeline are modifications of existing antibiotics, which only represent short-term solutions. As a result, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom called the current situation “a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine.”

The WHO says drug-resistant tuberculosis kills about 250,000 people each year around the world.

The report identifies more than 50 new medications in clinical development to treat resistant pathogens. Only eight, however, are considered “innovative” by the WHO.

Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines at WHO says that “pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days because we have no line of defense.”

“If we are to end tuberculosis,” Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Program says, “more than $800 million per year is urgently needed to fund research for new…medicines.”

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