The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis

The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis

While COVID-19 is adversely impacting humanity, the next pandemic is knocking on our door, threatening to upend our lives and devastate our economies.

In the pre-antibiotic era, death and human suffering were enormous as a result of today’s minor inconveniences as strep throat, ear infections, or minor surgery. However, with the growing threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the fight against bacterial infections is far from over.

AMR occurs when bacteria evolve through genetic changes to be no longer susceptible to current antibiotics. The rise of AMR is mainly contributed by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics that leads to the accelerated development of resistance. As of today, bacteria have developed resistance to ALL approved and marketed antibiotics. The emergence and spread of different AMR pathogens, especially multidrug and pan-resistant (“Superbugs”) bacteria, threaten the ability to treat bacterial infections and may drive humanity back to the pre-antibiotic era.

Natural selection of resistant bacteria

Natural selection of resistant bacteria (ReAct, March 2019)

In the US, superbugs sicken, disable, and kill many Americans every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 35,000 annual deaths result from antibiotic resistance as well as 2.8 million infections. Shockingly, these numbers are considered “low-ball” by just about everyone including the CDC, which derived them. Nevertheless, the CDC figures only include patient deaths in hospitals and do not consider the deaths from superbug infections that occurred at households and senior facilities. Additionally, a recent collaboratively CDC study estimates that AMR infections led to a huge healthcare cost of more than 4.6 billion US Dollars annually.

Worldwide, the IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) President Dr. Barbara Alexander recently warned:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made painfully clear to all, the far-reaching impact of untreatable infectious diseases across societies and economies”

The WHO, the CDC, and others consider the global epidemic of antibiotic resistance to be one of humanity’s biggest threats to global health. The latest official WHO figures estimate that currently 700,000 deaths each year are attributed to antimicrobial resistance. According to a ground-breaking report, the UN ad hoc “Interagency Coordinating Group” (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance warned that without urgent action, humanity is heading for a post-antibiotic era, with a disastrous number of 10 million deaths each year by 2050, predicting a world in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

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