WHO Report: World Crisis Developing Due to Lack of Antibiotics

By on 4:24 AM

A new report launched by the World Health Organization reveals a growing global challenge concerning antibiotics.

The report — titled "Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis" — indicates there is a significant lack of new antibiotics under development that can help combat the increasing threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.

Findings include the following:
  • Most drugs in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and represent short-term solutions.
  • There are few potential treatment options for antibiotic-resistant infections posing the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • WHO identified 12 other classes of priority pathogens increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics.
  • Of the 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development to treat priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens, only eight are classed by WHO as innovative treatments that will add value to the current antibiotic treatment arsenal.
  • There is a great lack of treatment options for multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant M. tuberculosis and gram-negative pathogens (e.g., Acinetobacter, Enterobacteriaceae). These can cause severe infections that pose a specific threat in hospitals and long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes).
  • There are few oral antibiotics in development.
"Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine," says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, in a news release. "There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including tuberculosis, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.

The U.S. government and private organizations require healthcare facilities to develop and maintain antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. This includes, but is not limited, to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission (TJC).

Antimicrobial stewardship programs include a multi-disciplinary approach that promotes the appropriate use of medications, including antibiotics, to fight infections. The goal of these programs is multi-factorial and includes the reduction of drug resistance amongst microbes, improving patient outcomes (less morbidity and mortality associated with injudicious use of antimicrobials) and an attempt to decrease the risk of transmission of infection caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. 

Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS) provides assistance with development and implementation of AMS programs for various settings, including nursing homes, hospitals and surgery centers. To learn more, visit the ICCS website.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.