Geneva (dpa) - According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the development of new effective antibiotics is perilously slow. Declining investment and a lack of real innovation would undermine efforts to fight multi-resistant infections, WHO said, referring to two new reports in Geneva on Friday.
According to this, 60 antibiotic agents - 50 antibiotics and 10 biopharmaceuticals - are currently being tested on humans. However, these would bring little additional benefit compared to existing treatments. In addition, only a few targeted the most important resistant bacteria. "The threat of antibiotic resistance has never been more immediate and the need for solutions more urgent," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
It should also be noted that research and development for antibiotics is primarily driven by small and medium-sized companies, while large companies are leaving the field, the WHO continues. A look at the situation with active ingredients that are still in an earlier development phase is somewhat more optimistic. There are 252 funds that target the largest problem areas defined by the WHO. The first drugs of this generation will probably not be on the market for ten years at the earliest.
Resistance can develop if some bacteria survive using antibiotics. These resistant bacteria can multiply. According to the WHO, the spread of germs such as Acinetobacter, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which often circulate in hospitals, is particularly worrying. They could cause pneumonia, blood poisoning, and wound infections.