None of antibiotics in development "sufficiently address" drug resistance: WHO
None of the 43 antibiotics that are currently in clinical development sufficiently address the problem of drug resistance in the world's most dangerous bacteria, according to the latest report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday.
"Overall, the clinical pipeline and recently approved antibiotics are insufficient to tackle the challenge of increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance," the WHO's annual Antibacterial Pipeline Report said.
"The persistent failure to develop, manufacture, and distribute effective new antibiotics is further fueling the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and threatens our ability to successfully treat bacterial infections," said WHO Assistant Director General on AMR Hanan Balkhy.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, may serve as an opportunity by deepening the global understanding of the health and economic implications and by prompting more investment in the research and development (R&D) of antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, the report said.
To address gaps in funding and drive sustainable investment in antibiotics development, the WHO and partners have set up the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership to develop some of the innovative treatments. A coalition of pharmaceutical companies, philanthropies, the European Investment Bank, with the support of the WHO, have also set up a partnership to strengthen and accelerate antibiotic development through global pooled funding.
"Antibiotics present the Achilles heel for universal health coverage and our global health security. We need a global sustained effort including mechanisms for pooled funding and new and additional investments to meet the magnitude of the AMR threat," says Haileyesus Getahun, director of AMR Global Coordination at WHO.