Disease-fighting drugs: Can we end the antibiotic crisis?

Written by By Jeannine Aversa, CNN The world leaders assembled at this week’s G20 summit in Germany have said they want to collaborate to ensure as many people as possible have access to effective…

Disease-fighting drugs: Can we end the antibiotic crisis?

Written by By Jeannine Aversa, CNN

The world leaders assembled at this week’s G20 summit in Germany have said they want to collaborate to ensure as many people as possible have access to effective medicines.

They are particularly calling for new antibiotic treatments to be tested and approved quickly, in order to keep drugs from becoming obsolete.

This week’s meeting coincides with the release of a new World Health Organization-commissioned global strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance , specifically at the 120-year anniversary of the discovery of penicillin

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, head of the UN’s global health agency, told reporters last week that the G20 had laid the “strongest marker” in years for cooperation in this area, but that “we know this will be a difficult challenge and that with much more effort from all, the world can make significant progress”

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One set of antibiotics responsible for the world’s most common infections are losing their potency, turning into resistance by organisms that have evolved resistance quickly, making it difficult to reverse that cycle, Fukuda said.

Majoritarian values and bureaucratic disagreements

Almost 20 years ago, a group of three Nobel Prize-winning scientists, led by Sir Patrick Moynihan, began urging a crackdown on antibiotic overuse, and in response major nations began pushing governments to write new regulations to rein in antibiotic use.

But while drug companies publicly promoted the use of antibiotics to extend the life of humans and animals, companies began limiting investment in research and development.

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