Antibiotic resistance outbreak ‘could kill 80,000’, report warns

pharmafile | April 7, 2015 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing AMR, Nabriva Therapeutics, antibiotic resistance, bacteria, blood infections, infections 

An antibiotic-resistant blood infection outbreak could lead to 80,000 deaths, according to a government report on threats to the UK.

The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies suggests that an epidemic of an antimicrobial resistant blood infection would affect 200,000 people, potentially killing two in five people infected.

The government report ranked antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of its top civil emergencies, stating that it is an increasingly serious issue which will only get worse over the next 20 years.

‘High numbers of deaths’ could also be caused by additional types of resistant infection, according to the register, which says ‘much of modern medicine’ including surgery, some cancer treatments and organ transplants would all become unsafe without effective antibiotics.

“If a widespread outbreak were to occur, we could expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of these people might die”, it warns.

It follows a 2014 report which predicted that an extra 10 million people a year could die by 2050 if AMR is not tackled soon. Authors also said that the cost of the failure to find new drugs to tackle the problem could be as high as $100 trillion a year.

Drug-resistant infections are believed to account for around 700,000 deaths worldwide every year. If this number does reach 10 million, AMR could be responsible for more global deaths than cancer.

One of the authors of last year’s study Yael Selfin, said: “The rise in AMR and its capacity to cause real damage to society, and to the world economy, should encourage the development of new antibiotics, and increase efforts to ensure future social and economic impacts are minimised.”

The UK government is working with partners to lead the implementation of its five-year AMR strategy to reduce the spread of AMR, and improve antibiotic prescribing.

Additionally, pharma is also investing time and money into antibiotic discovery. This week the Austrian biotech company Nabriva Therapeutics, which is developing a new class of antibiotic for the treatment of serious infections caused by AMR, secured a $120 million outlay to enable it to progress lefamulin (BC 3781).

The drug, which was fast-tracked by the FDA last year, is designed to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP). The funding, from investors including Wellcome Trust and Novartis Venture Fund, will help put the antibiotic through Phase III clinical studies.

Dr Denise Pollard-Knight, who is the chairman of the supervisory board at Nabriva, said: “The rapid spread of multi-drug resistance is a growing public health threat recognised by global policy makers as governments commit resources and funding to tackle this problem.”

She concludes that developing novel antibiotics is ‘critically important’ in developing a new generation of drugs.

Read the UK Government report here.

Tom Robinson


Related Content

BactiVac funds development of bacterial vaccines to prevent infections against antimicrobial resistance

The University of Birmingham hosted Bacterial Vaccines Network has been awarded £1.4m in funding from …

Scientists use AI to find new antibiotic to fight superbug

Scientists at McMaster University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have utilised artificial intelligence …

More infections from contaminated eyedrops increase death toll

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released updated data regarding contaminated …

Latest content