Funding needed to tackle antibiotic resistant diseases, says WHO

25 Sep 17

The world is running out of antibiotics and research funding is needed to combat the threat of antibiotic resistant diseases, such as tuberculosis, a new report by the World Health Organisation has said. 

There are not enough oral antibiotics “in the pipeline” to treat diseases, such as tuberculosis which kills around 250,000 people each year, according to the report, released last week. 

“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,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, director of WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme.

“If we are to end tuberculosis, more than $800m per year is urgently needed to fund research for new anti- tuberculosis medicines.”

WHO and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative set up the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership to aid this, and earlier this month, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK and the Wellcome Trust pledged more than €56m to aid this work. 

In addition to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, WHO has identified 12 classes of priority pathogens – some of them causing common infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections – that are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics and urgently in need of new treatments.

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