The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” – a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.
New Antibiotics Needed
The list was drawn up in a bid to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of WHO’s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
The list highlights in particular the threat of gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. These bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
New Research Tool
“This list is intened as a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs,” says Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.
Pace of Development
But the growing number of antibiotic resistance bugs also means that the number of treatment options is also reduced. Market forces says the WHO are not going to drive the development of the drugs that the health care system needs quickly enough.
Eye-opener for the Average Person.
We take antibiotics for granted and either have no experience of life before their wide spread use or have forgotten how simple infections could result in serious illness or death.
There is a greater understanding of health and hygiene than there was before the first antibiotic was discovered by accident in 1928, but there are still too many people who avoid basic hygiene rules.
Many cases of infection could be prevented if the person affected or indeed someone who came into contact with them had followed basic hygiene rules.
Simple activities like hand washing, and when it is appropriate to wash your hands, it’s not just after using the lavatory are often ignored or just a quick rinse, rather being done properly with soap and hot water.
It is the combination of the detergent in the soap, the heat or the water and the friction of the washing action that cleans the hands.