WHO Urges Development of New Antimicrobial Drugs to Combat Resistance

There is an urgent need for new and innovative antimicrobial drugs to replace those losing effectiveness due to widespread use, according to a report released this week by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO's annual report aims to assess whether current research and development activities are adequately addressing infections caused by resistant microorganisms identified as the most dangerous to human health. The first such report was published in 2017. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to drugs, often due to the incorrect or excessive use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents.

The WHO emphasizes that there are too few antimicrobial drugs in development and insufficient innovation. Out of 32 antibiotics currently being studied to combat bacterial priority pathogens on the WHO's list, only 12 can be considered innovative. Furthermore, only 4 of these 12 antibiotics are effective against at least one of the critical priority pathogens.

The WHO also announced that women are more likely than men to develop infections that do not respond to traditional treatments. A global review by the organization found that 70 percent of countries do not consider gender differences in their national plans to combat antimicrobial resistance.

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