Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IDSA Calls for 10 New Antibacterial Drugs by 2020

“Microbial evolution causing antibiotic resistance is constant; our collective efforts at antibiotic discovery must be constant.”

In the 2010 April 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the Infectious Diseases Society of America outlines its “10 x ’20 Initiative,” calling for a global effort to develop 10 new antibiotics by 2020. The initiative originated in a letter written to U.S. President Barack Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt urging the creation of an Antibacterial Drug Development Work Group following their announcement of an agreement to establish a transatlantic task force on antimicrobial resistance at their November 2009 summit. IDSA calls for a commitment from a diverse group of U.S. and international leaders, healthcare providers and researchers, public health organizations, and patients themselves.

The policy article references the lack of incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics (see “Drug Development: Where are the New Antibiotics?” below) and sets the stakes for its challenge:

“The antibiotic pipeline problem may change the practice of medicine as we know it. Advanced interventions currently taken for granted – for example, surgery, cancer treatment, transplantation, and care of premature babies – could become impossible as antibiotic options become fewer.”

IDSA also points to the need to develop better diagnostic tests that will allow doctors to quickly distinguish between drug-resistant and drug-susceptible infections, and treat patients accordingly. This would help halt the spread of drug-resistant infections in healthcare facilities and allow for newer antibiotics to be saved for the most dangerous resistant cases. You can read more on IDSA’s “Bad Bugs No Drugs” campaign, including patient stories of drug-resistant infections here.

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