World Health Organization (WHO) published on Monday, 27th of February a list of bacteria for which new antibiotics need to be urgently developed. COMBACTE-MAGNET’s Evelina Tacconelli – head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen, Germany – is a major contributor to the development of the list. Her Division collaborated with WHO in assembling the list.

“New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world,” says Prof Evelina Tacconelli, “waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care.”

The list contains pathogens that pose a significant threat to public health. The selection of bacteria was based on a number of criteria such as fatality, hospitalization period, resistance frequency, treatment options, and so on.

The list was assembled in order to promote the research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, and plays an important part in WHO’s efforts to address the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Gram-negative bacteria are especially part of the list as multi-drug resistant bacteria with the ability to easily develop new ways of resistance and pass along genetic material to other bacteria that can become resistant.

Multi-drug resistant bacteria on the list include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, or E. coli) which can cause serious infections and can ultimately lead to death. These bacteria have developed in astonishing ways, and can now be resistant even to third generation cephalosporins – which are considered the best antibiotics against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

WHO states that R&D is not enough to solve the problem alone. Better prevention and consistent awareness in proper use of existing and any new antibiotics is vital in order to overcome the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Source: World Health Organization

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