WHO blames poor use of antibiotics for the spurt in prolific drug resistance. Bacterial genomes are naturally geared for developing drug resistance. So, doctors over-prescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics and patients not completing the course have caused furious resistance development and transmission. Compounding the problem is the slump in antibiotic discovery that began in the 1990s; while 19 new anti-bacterial drugs, according to US FDA records, got approval in 1984, between 2010 and 2012, only one did. This slowdown is partly attributed to many pharma majors, including Pfizer, Eli Lily and Sanofi, shutting down their antibiotic research to focus on the more profitable drug-development for chronic diseases. How can this be remedied, though Thankfully, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there has been some show of interest in antibiotics recently
UK-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC is receiving $200 million from the US government for its antibiotic programme while Switzerlands Roche Holding AG has invested $111 million in RQX Pharamceuticals Inc, which focuses on developing antibiotic. But what is, perhaps, most crucial is vaccine research. Aiding the natural immune response to pathogen will not only help nip the problem of virulence in the bud, an effective vaccine programme will also help check budget-busting health programmes that focus on treatment rather than prevention.