According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotics that are currently in clinical development are insufficient to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Most of the drugs currently in the clinical phase are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics. Hence they cannot be deemed as long term solutions. It is sad to note that there are very few potential treatment options available. The growing resistant infections pose the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) which kills around 250,000 people each year. There are also very few oral antibiotics in the pipeline, yet these are essential formulations for treating infections outside hospitals or in resource-limited settings.
Thus it isn’t wrong to say that antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine. More than ever before, today there is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery. Besides TB, the WHO has also identified 12 classes of priority pathogens that are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics and urgently in need of new and more advanced treatments.
Among the newly identified 51 new antibiotics in clinical development, only eight are classed by WHO as innovative treatments that will add value to the current antibiotic treatment arsenal. Thus it is the need of the hour for pharmaceutical companies to urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days.