An apocalypse threatens the experts in public health. The perspective of a world where humanity is once again an easy prey for pest bacteria, which strikes the weak and the young, has gone through many years. The infections we have fought, such as pneumonia and typhoid fever, kill us again. Operations and chemotherapy for cancer will be very risky.
It is, for now, a distant scenario, but it can not be ruled out as a rhetoric of fear. Antibiotics are no longer the cure for all bacterial infections, as they were once. Antimicrobial resistance is a real problem.
Microbes, bacteria and viruses fight, develop resistances against drugs that have been invented to break them. It is an evolutionary thing. They were here before us and evolved to survive.
490,000 had resistant tuberculosis
Tuberculosis has become much more difficult to treat. Tuberculosis bacteria have become resistant to various antibiotics that are found in the cocktail of the patients. In 2016, 490,000 people developed tuberculosis resistant to multiple medications in countries around the world.
To improve them, they needed more expensive and more expensive drugs for a longer period than the six-month standard treatment. One has all the reasons to assume that tuberculosis bacteria will develop resistance to new drugs over time.
Control of malaria is also threatened by resistance to medication.
Hospitals in the United Kingdom and other countries are struggling to treat infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae, A common bacterium that is in the stomach. MRSA, the so-called superbask which is a form of Staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to methicillin is very widespread. There is growing resistance to drugs used to treat sexually transmitted diseases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. And this continues, as the microbes gradually retard the territory they lost by science.
More profitable with medications for chronic diseases
Great Britain has advocated to warn the world and drive the action. The authorities initiated an important investigation directed by the economist Jim O & # 39; Neill. The UN has held meetings for senior authorities. And now we have a plan, launched by Secretary of State Matt Hancock in Davos, to give large pharmaceutical companies incentives to start work to find new antibiotics. It sounds simple But it really is not.
Many pharmaceutical companies have long ago expelled their antimicrobial portfolios. It was a belief of a few decades in the time that I had won the war against infectious disease. The drug producers saw a more lucrative future in chronic diseases.
Heart problems, stroke and type 2 diabetes were and are the most deadly, and development is in a negative direction as more people obey. And unlike infectious diseases, where people take a single medication care and are expected to cure, people with chronic diseases may have to take medication for the rest of their lives. It is profitable
There was another reason why "big pharma" was removed. The search for new antibiotics was increasingly demanding. Simple ones had already been developed. Often, companies want to produce their best-selling versions, with slight variations (that is, improvements) to make sure they get a patent that lasts 20 years and that they collect their expenses. There has been a lack of new forms of antibiotics for decades.
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Suggest one billion dollars
In Davos, Hancock spoke about incentives to recover companies. This means that the reward is guaranteed. In 2016, Neill realized this and suggested a worldwide reward of $ 1 billion (about $ 8,500 million) in the company developing a new and necessary form of # 39; antibiotics
Makes sense. You must place a new antibiotic on the platform and not use it until absolutely necessary, as everything has failed. This means that there are very few sales gains. Pharmaceutical companies want large "ticket offices", which usually mean sales of one billion dollars. With the plan of Neill, they prefer to get the money in advance.
Hancock does not go so far when discussing public health discussions England's NHS and the National Institute for Health and Attention to Excellence, which determines the relationship cost-effectiveness, to "explore how a new payment model can mean that pharmaceutical companies pay drugs on the importance of drugs is for the NHS, rather than just selling the amount of antibiotics."
It will have to be a very generous financing model and the United Kingdom can not do this alone. Until "large pharmaceutical" see large quantities and quantities, the difficult challenge of finding new antibiotics that the world needs badly will not be one that is thrown away.
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Translated by Leni Aurora Brækhus / ABC News © Guardian News & Media Limited.