Every time we turn around, it seems, we’re hearing more about superbugs , AMR (antimicrobial resistance) and the global concern that these issues are bringing to light. As detailed in a CNN article by reporter Meera Senthilingham, entitled “How to stop superbugs from killing 10 million people a year“, these antibiotic-resistant pathogens are set to be a more common cause of death than cancer by the year 2050. For perspective, medical procedures like C-section, chemotherapy, simple surgeries, and treatment of wounds would no longer be safe without antibiotics. Each of these tasks would become significantly more dangerous if steps were not taken to prevent this.
The article goes on to point out that instead of panic and fear, these figures should elicit a need to provide solutions and reverse the damaging effects of anti-microbial resistance before these statistics can come true. This should be a focus of the drug development industry, but due to lack of commercial returns, little investment in new antimicrobials has been made in recent years.
As a manner of combating this, researchers are working toward alternatives to antibiotics. Examples outlined in the article include methods of rapid, accurate, and susceptible diagnosis as well as new types of therapies like vaccines, phages, and monoclonal antibodies. Brendan Wren, a professor of microbial pathology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was quoted in the article saying, “The more of us working on these kinds of projects gives us multiple opportunities…If we can use less antibiotics and look for alternatives, then hopefully we can keep the problem in check.”
If you’re interested in learning more about what is being done to combat antimicrobial resistance and who is doing it, you should attend World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress USA 2016, held September 8-9 in Washington, DC.