Antibiotics are used for the treatment of bacterial infections. However, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance, a phenomenon that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics. A report by 'Review on Antimicrobial Resistance committee' appointed by the British government suggests that drug-resistant microbes could kill 10 million people a year worldwide by 2050. Therefore, the experts recommend the global pharmaceutical industry to set up a $2.0 billion (1.8-billion euro) global innovation fund to help kickstart research into developing more resistant antibiotics.
The review's author, economist Jim O'Neill, said, "We need to kickstart drug development to make sure the world has the drugs it needs. Antimicrobial resistance could cost $100 trillion in lost economic output. If it gets really bad, somebody is going to come gunning for these guys just how people came gunning for finance during the 2008 global financial crisis. A fund with $2.0 billion over five years would give a vital boost to research and development by universities and small biotech companies."
AdvertisementThe report said that one potential direction was the development of 'resistance breakers' which could boost the effectiveness of existing antibiotics without the additional cost of developing new ones. With $2.0 billion over five years, the fund could prioritize payment to universities and small biotech companies and break the link between profitability of the drug and volume of sales. The report said, "Too many good ideas are not being pursued for lack of funding."
The World Health Organization has also warned that the world was doing far too little to combat the misuse of antibiotics, which is fueling drug resistance and allowing treatable diseases to become killers. In the first ever analysis of how countries are responding to the problem of antimicrobial resistance, the UN health agency revealed 'major gaps' in all six regions of the world. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director general for health security, said, "This is the single greatest challenge in infectious diseases today."
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