W.H.O. Releases First-Ever List of Major Threat Bacteriaadmin
The World Health Organization (WHO) – the United Nations public health arm – “published its first ever list of antibiotic-resistant ‘priority pathogens’ – a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that post the greatest threat to human health,” according to a press release. The list was drawn up in a bid to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of WHO’s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
The list “highlights gram-negative bacteria,” according to IFLScience.com, and are divided into three different categories: Critical, High, and Medium. Medium priority bacteria include more common pathogens, such as streptococcus pneumoniae, shigella, and haemophilus influenzae, while the critical priority portion of the list includes lesser-known pathogens such as acinetobacter baumannii, pseudomonas aeruginosa, and enterobacteriaceae. While these bacteria “might not be widespread just yet, when they do cause infection they are frequently fatal, particularly in vulnerable patients,” Josh Davis writes.
“This list is a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs,” Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny said in the release. “Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.