WHO warns of impending drug-resistance crisis

The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm on drug resistance, with Director-General Margaret Chan warning of the approach of a "post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated." The WHO called on governments and researchers to step up funding and discovery of new medicines to take the place of antimicrobial drugs that have been rendered ineffective or useless through the evolution of drug-resistant diseases.

"Perhaps the most disturbing is that the pipeline for new antimicrobial medicines to replace those that have been lost has nearly dried up," WHO Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said according to Drug Discovery & Development. "The emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that involves a range of stakeholders. It needs to be urgently and aggressively addressed through a comprehensive response across sectors, within and across nations."

The WHO said that last year 440,000 new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis were found. Also, malaria, gonorrhea and shigella are among the latest to grow resistant to drugs.

"The trends are clear and ominous," Chan said. "No action today means no cure tomorrow. At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential medicines--essential cures for many millions of people--to become the next global crisis."

- read the full article in Drug Discovery & Development