Drug resistant infections pose a threat to mankind
‘Progress is fragile’
Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, says in a statement: “Political and societal recognition of the threat superbugs pose has definitely increased. But the progress is fragile.
“We need to make sure we all convert that welcome high-level commitment into real action that makes a tangible difference to people lives.
“There is no doubt that together, we can stop the superbugs which could undermine the whole of modern medicine. But the impact is now and the time to act is now, we need to bring real urgency to this.”
Antibiotic resistance could spell end of modern medicine, says chief medic
Prof Dame Sally Davies says action is needed around the world to tackle ‘hidden’ problem that is already claiming lives
One in three or one in four prescriptions in UK primary care are probably not needed, Davies estimates. Photograph: DanielAzocar/Getty Images/iStockphoto
England’s chief medical officer has repeated her warning of a “post-antibioticapocalypse” as she urged world leaders to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Prof Dame Sally Davies said that if antibiotics lose their effectiveness it would spell “the end of modern medicine”. Without the drugs used to fight infections, common medical interventions such as caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would become incredibly risky and transplant medicine would be a thing of the past, she said.
“We really are facing – if we don’t take action now – a dreadful post-antibiotic apocalypse. I don’t want to say to my children that I didn’t do my best to protect them and their children,” Davies said.
Health experts have previously said resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer. In recent years, the UK has led a drive to raise global awareness of the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Each year about 700,000 people around the world die due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.
The UK government and the Wellcome Trust, along with others, have organised a call to action meeting for health officials from around the world. At the meeting in Berlin, the government will announce a new project that will map the spread of death and disease caused by drug-resistant superbugs.
For some people, like Pam, even the strongest antibiotics no longer work. “It can make you feel very alienated. Very isolated. Especially when you’re in a room like this…One room, on your own.” Growing resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics is one of the biggest public health threats of modern times, with the potential to cause 80,000 deaths in the UK over the next 20 years. Experts say the use of a range of NHS ‘last-resort’ antibiotics in farming is risking the lives of future patients. Tom Heap asks if the commercial pressure to produce cheap meat and poultry is fuelling the rise of superbugs and meets the patients for whom the drugs have already stopped working.
Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of ‘post-antibiotic era’ – BBC News
Published on 19 Nov 2015
Scientists warn the world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era” after discovering superbugs resistant to the strongest drug available. Dr Elizabeth Tayler outlines just how serious these developments are.
The Cure – Antibiotic resistance: The end of modern medicine?
Published on 27 Jul 2015
When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in London back in 1928, it changed the face of medicine.Antibiotics such as penicillin have saved the lives of millions around the world and modern healthcare is reliant on their use for cancer treatments, operations and to prevent the most simple of infections from becoming fatal. But resistance to antibiotics is accelerating at a frightening rate, with projections that by 2050, drug-resistant infections could kill more than 10 million people worldwide every year. In this special episode of The Cure we aim to uncover why antibiotic resistance has become such a huge and real threat across the world. We will see first-hand how rising resistance is already affecting patients in the hospitals of the UK; how cattle farmers are exacerbating the problem; why the hunt for new antibiotics is taking researchers to the caves of South Dakota; and how a new diagnostic tool is helping identify drug-resistant TB in the townships of South Africa. Join Dr Joff Lacey on a global journey to explore the terrifying prospect that this era of antibiotics is coming to an end – and what is being done globally to try and combat it.
A ticking time bomb: the infectious threat of antibiotic resistance by Prof Dame Sally Davies
Published on 5 Mar 2015
As the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally is the country’s leading figure in public health. In this lecture, she will talk about microbial resistance and the dire threat it poses if action is not taken to reinvigorate research into a new class of antibiotic.
She has described the threat posed by antibiotic resistance as being on a par with that of terrorism and climate change and warned that “Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.”
Her highlighting of the issue in the CMO’s Annual Report, published in March 2013, included 17 recommendations on antibiotic resistancy, many of which are designed to tackle the ‘discovery void’ in pharmaceutical research. A year on from the report, Dame Sally will talk about the Government’s strategy for action, the challenges she faces and the progress made.
Further information and updates will be posted as they become available.