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Friday, September 24th, 2021

WHO releases list of 12 drug-resistant bacteria urgently in need of new antibiotics

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of 12 anti-biotic resistant priority pathogens this week, which represent the 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

WHO said the list was made to promote research and development of new antibiotics and is part of the organization’s effort to combat the growing resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

“This list is a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs,” WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Marie-Paule Kieny said. “Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

The list is broken into three separate categories including critical, high, and medium priority.

The most-critical pathogens on the list include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus. WHO said those bacteria have become resistant to a large number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third generation cephalosporins – the best available antibiotics for treating multi-drug resistant bacteria.

The high priority list includes pathogens such as Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter spp., Salmonellae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

The medium priority list includes Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Shigella spp.

“New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world,” said Evelina Tacconelli, head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen and a major contributor to the development of the list. “Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care.”