KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 – Common diseases are becoming more and more untreatable, while medical surgery risks are increasing due to “alarming levels” of resistance to antimicrobial drugs, according to a new United Nations committee report.
The report stated that drug-resistant diseases cause at least 700,000 deaths globally a year, including 230,000 deaths from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
Authors of the report say that resistance to antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiprotozoals is now a “global crisis”, as it is now seen in various countries across all income levels.
“If we are going to develop successful strategies to reduce the impact and spread of antimicrobial resistance the scientists, clinicians, veterinarians, policymakers, and members of the community will have to work together to address the problem from a One Health perspective,” said Melinda Pettigrew, a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, according to CNN.
The report said that misuse and overuse of existing antimicrobial agents in humans, animals and plants speed the development and spread of resistance.
Factors contributing to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens include inadequate access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene; poor infection and disease prevention; lack of equitable access to affordable antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics; and weak health, food and feed production, food safety and waste management systems.
The report also provides a summary of five recommendations: accelerate progress (including implementation of One Health National Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plans); innovate to secure the future (including development of new antimicrobials); collaborate for more effective action; invest for sustainable response; and strengthen accountability and global governance.
If nothing is done globally, the authors estimate that up to 10 million people may die annually by 2030 as a result of drug-resistant diseases.
The situation is recognised as dire across organisations.
The World Health Organization reported that the number of drugs in development is inadequate. Although dozens of antibiotics and biologics — medical products made from natural sources — may be in the making, new drugs is said to have only 14 per cent chance of gaining approval for use in humans.