After more and more common medicines have lost their ability to fight dangerous infections, and few new drugs in the pipeline, the world is facing an imminent crisis leading to millions of deaths, an increase in global poverty The United Nations has even said in a report on Monday even an even greater gap between rich and poor countries.
Drug-resistant infections are already causing 700,000 deaths per year, including 230,000 deaths from drug-resistant tuberculosis. The rampant overuse of antibiotics and antimycotics in humans, livestock and agriculture is accelerating a crisis that is barely understood by the public and largely ignored by world leaders. Without concerted action, a United Nations panel said that resistant infections could kill 1
The problem threatens people around the world. Over the next 30 years, according to United Nations experts, 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia could die from drug-resistant infections, making routine hospital procedures such as knee replacement surgery and child birth much riskier than it is today. 19659002] "This is a silent tsunami," Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, Director of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Antimicrobial Resistance, who had worked on the report for two years. "We do not see the political momentum we have seen in other public health emergencies, but if we do not act now, antimicrobial resistance within a generation will have devastating effects."
The group, a collaboration of public health experts, government ministers and industry representatives, called for the creation of an independent body to stand and finance the United Nations Panel on Climate Change.
The report's grim forecasts aim to raise public awareness and get political leaders into action. It proposes a series of measures that, according to health authorities, could help curb the emergence of drug-resistant agents. The recommendations include a worldwide ban on the use of medically important antibiotics to promote the growth of livestock; financial incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antimicrobial compounds; and stricter rules to limit the sale of antibiotics in countries where drugs can often be bought without prescription in convenience stores.
[ReadOurSeries Deadly Germs, Lost Cures ]
The report also highlights the undervalued factors in the spread of drug-resistant bacteria: the lack of clean water and inadequate sewer systems affecting millions of people sick in developing countries. Many of them are too poor to see a doctor and instead buy cheap antibiotics from street vendors with little medical expertise. Sometimes they unknowingly buy counterfeit medicines, a problem that causes millions of deaths, most of them in Africa.
In order to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, rich countries should help poor countries to improve public hygiene. Ensure better access to vaccines and properly prepared antibiotics.
Health officials have difficulty understanding the scale of the problem as many countries are poorly equipped to monitor drug-resistant infections. In a survey conducted by the United Nations for the report, 39 out of 146 nations failed to provide data on the use of antimicrobials in animals, which, according to experts, is the main cause of human resistance People are transferred contaminated food and water.
"We fly quite blind and work hard on a clear vision," said Sally Davies, the chief physician of England and a leader of the United Nations.
As a first step, the report calls on member states of the United Nations to draw up national control plans to reduce the unnecessary use of antimicrobials.
A key element of the report is the call for new incentives to promote the development of antimicrobial drugs. Between 2010 and 2014, six new antimicrobials were approved, most of which were added to existing classes, according to the World Health Organization. In contrast, 19 new antimicrobial medicines were approved between 1980 and 1984.
The lack of new medicines is tied to the perverted economics of antibiotic resistance and the free market. The development of a new drug can cost half a billion dollars. However, doctors are discouraged from using the drugs to reduce the likelihood that the targeted pathogens will become resistant. Even if doctors prescribe the medication, most patients take it for a week or two, which limits a pharmaceutical company's ability to recover its initial investment.
"Everyone agrees that there is an absolute need for new antibiotics, but there is no sustainable market," said Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations This includes generous government funding for research or regulatory changes that could increase the reimbursement of newly approved antibiotics that are considered medically important. According to the World Bank, such investments would pay off quickly. It points out that antimicrobial resistance costs $ 9 billion a year.
"I welcome the UN, at least it has put incentives on the map, but there has to be more than just a conversation," said Cueni, who also chairs. AMR Industry Alliance, a trade group dealing with the issue of antibiotic resistance. "What is needed is money."
However, many public health advocates said the report was an important step in addressing a crisis that did not highlight other global issues such as climate change and AIDS.
Lance Price, director of the George Washington University Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, said he feared that the report would not be well received by the Trump administration, which was averse to multilateral cooperation.
Fear was the key to changing the status quo.
"Even if you are not concerned about the suffering of people who drink impure water and get resistant infections, you still have to realize that these bacteria do not recognize international boundaries," he said. "They will come here and kill us. We need to let people know that the problem is closer than they think.
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