#1: First-Ever Priority Pathogens List Published by WHO
In an effort to encourage increased research and development (R&D) for new antibiotics to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of priority pathogens this week that urgently need treatments against them.
The Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen, Germany developed the list with WHO through the use of a multi-criteria decision analysis technique. The pathogens that are included are those that were considered to be: the most-deadly; required the longest hospital stays; were most frequently resistant to existing antibiotics when people in communities acquired them; were spread easily between animals, from animals to humans, or humans to humans; their level of preventability; and whether or not antibiotics to treat them were already in the R&D pipeline.
Gram-negative bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics are notably highlighted on the list. Among their alarming features is their ability to “pass along the genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.” Those bacteria “that pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes, and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters,” are also ranked high on this list.
According to Marie-Paule Kieny, MD, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, "Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time." According to WHO, “the list is intended to spur governments to put in place policies that incentivize basic science and advanced R&D by both publicly funded agencies and the private sector investing in new antibiotic discovery.” In addition, the list, “will provide guidance to new R&D initiatives such as the WHO/Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership that is engaging in not-for-profit development of new antibiotics.”
The full list of priority pathogens is available here
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