The Antimicrobial Crisis: New Antibiotics Could Avert 230,000 Deaths Per Year

Recent clinical studies presented at International Symposium organized by Fondazione Internazionale Menarini

The World Health Organization warns: invest more and invest now in research to avoid catastrophic consequences for public health

FLORENCE, Italy, Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The introduction of new antibiotics would reduce the number of deaths related to superbugs from 50-55% to 10-15%: if these new antibiotics were used, one third of lives would be saved with more than 230,000 deaths averted at a global level per year, 11,000 of which only in Europe.

Recent clinical studies presented at the International Symposium organized by the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini held in Genova, where leading experts came together for an update on antimicrobial resistance, support these findings.

Every year infections related to antibiotic-resistant superbugs kill 700,000 people worldwide, 33,000 of which in Europe. Numbers which are set to rise dramatically but "through a proper and earlier use of the novel antibiotics, some of which already on the market and others potentially upcoming in the next months, we could reduce the number of deaths by one third, as demonstrated in several pivotal clinical studies involving approximately one thousand patients affected by Klebsiella pneumonia," commented Matteo Bassetti, Chairman of SITA, the Italian Society of Anti-infective Therapy.

However, these new molecules are failing to reach patients as highlighted by the recent warning issued by the WHO: today, more than ever, antimicrobial resistance is a global threat which calls for immediate solutions to be found. The decline in private investments and a lack of innovation in the development path of new antibiotics will undermine the efforts made to tackle drug-resistant infections.

It is necessary that institutions, at different levels, and the pharmaceutical industry partner to strengthen their efforts and contribute with sustainable investments to the discovery and development of innovative treatments.

"A number of these new molecules have already been approved by the Food Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. It's clear that there are some issues in their adoption in the clinical practice despite being recognized as lifesaving weapons, as the new cancer treatments are, and should be introduced in therapeutic algorithms to be used properly, in an empiric way, and as earlier as possible to treat critically ill patients for whom a delay in starting the right treatment will impact on mortality rates and clinical outcome," stated Marin Kollef, Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine.

"The successful advances in modern medicine as in surgical procedures, internal medicine, immunopathology, transplants, and cancer treatments allow for more efficient and refined procedures saving a huge number of lives but with no new antibiotics multidrug resistant hospital acquired infections threaten to reverse the miracles of the last half century," concluded Pierluigi Viale, Vice Chairman of SITA, the Italian Society of Anti-infective Therapy.

This is one of the reasons why experts are suggesting that regulatory requirements and market access procedures for new antibiotics need to be aligned with those implemented for the newest and most innovative cancer drugs, introducing simplified and accelerated approval pathways.

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