G7 industrial powers have been prompted last Friday by Britain to deal with the United States killer superbugs that have been recently discovered to be resistant to last-resort antibiotics, such as colistin.
According to British Prime Minister David Cameron, leading countries need to fight back the bacteria by decreasing the use of antibiotics and encouraging drug companies to develop a new type of treatment.
Furthermore, if antibiotics will continue to prove less effective, more and more people will start dying of simple health conditions or infections, such as sepsis, tetanus or tuberculosis (TB), which should no longer be deadly in the 21st century. Plus, it is not the first time when a bacteria resisted to colistin.
If this problem escalates, it might cause a $100 trillion hole in the world economy, and the modern medicine will be severely threatened. Such bacteria resistant to antibiotics is capable of killing 10 million people every year until 2050 if countries will not take fast and effective measures.
Statistics show that a budget of $1 to $1.5 billion is needed to develop a new antimicrobial medicine. A new gene was discovered last year in China, which was labeled as capable of making bacteria highly resistant to antibiotics. Starting from then, it has also been detected in Canada and Europe.
The primary cause of colistin resistance is due to the high use of drugs in livestock. Therefore, European Medicines Agency announced on Thursday that 65 percent of the medicine used in farming will be cut.
According to Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug makers are too reluctant to invest in new antibiotics, focusing on profit rather than efficiency against the superbug threat.
In January 2016, 83 companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, and Pfizer signed a declaration prompting governments to help the research of new antibiotics. It is good that officials started to focus on this problem, and hopefully, they will support scientists in their work. A new antibiotic stronger and more efficient might be enough to tackle this issue and reduce the risk of an epidemic.
Paradoxically, the reckless use of antibiotics led to the need for developing better antibiotics.