In order to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, WHO recently published a list of antibiotic-resistant "priority pathogens"- a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.
The list highlights in particular the threat of gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. These bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation said, "This list is a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs. 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."
Hermann Gröhe, Federal Minister of Health, Germany said, "We need effective antibiotics for our health systems. We have to take joint action today for a healthier tomorrow. Therefore, we will discuss and bring the attention of the G20 to the fight against antimicrobial resistance. WHO's first global priority pathogen list is an important new tool to secure and guide research and development related to new antibiotics."
Prof Evelina Tacconelli, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen said, "New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world," says and a major contributor to the development of the list. "Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care."