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Medical News & Perspectives
June 23/30, 2015

Novel Programs and Discoveries Aim to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

JAMA. 2015;313(24):2411-2413. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4738

With increasing concerns over the continued development of bacterial resistance to antibiotic drugs, researchers and public health officials are conducting and supporting new initiatives to develop novel antibiotics and to discover the mechanisms involved with resistance in bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and others.

The need for these efforts will only continue to grow: antibiotic-resistant organisms are associated with approximately 23 000 deaths and 2 million infections in the United States each year (http://1.usa.gov/1nDmtkJ). What’s more, an estimated 700 000 deaths per year worldwide are attributable to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and experts estimate that 10 million people will die worldwide each year by 2050 due to increasing AMR, with some of the highest potential burdens in Asia and Africa (http://bit.ly/1yCt7re). Drug discovery efforts are not keeping pace; between 1983 and 1987, 16 new systemic antibacterial agents were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but this number has been decreasing steadily ever since, with only 2 new agents having been approved between 2008 and 2012 (Boucher HW et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2013;56[12]:1685-1694).