Infectious Disease Experts Call for 10 New Antibiotics by 2020

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has asked for a commitment from the Obama administration and the European Union to further the Society’s mission to achieve the development of 10 new antibiotics within the next 10 years, known as the 10 x ’20 Initiative. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified antimicrobial resistance as one of the three greatest threats to human health.

A new European Union report confirms there are just 15 antibacterial drugs in the pipeline with the potential to offer a benefit over existing drugs. Only five of these have progressed to later-stage clinical trials. A 2009 IDSA report, “Bad Bugs, No Drugs, No ESKAPE,” arrives at similar findings. From past experience, we know that few of these drugs likely will make it to market. Meanwhile, the antibiotics now in use are in danger of becoming ineffective as bacteria learn to outsmart them. This leaves doctors with fewer and fewer options to treat life-threatening infections. The European Union report is available HERE. The IDSA report is available HERE.

The lack of new antibiotics and the increase of drug-resistant bacteria was addressed during the recent U.S. and European Union summit Nov. 2-3, when President Barack Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, acting on behalf of the EU Presidency, created a Transatlantic Task Force to encourage global research and development of new antibiotics and address antimicrobial resistance.

“If we can initiate a global commitment to achieve this significant ‘10 x ‘20’ goal, we’ll take a giant step toward safeguarding the health and well-being of patients worldwide,” said IDSA president Richard Whitley, MD, FIDSA. “We offer the unique expertise of IDSA’s members to assist the research and policy communities and urge the U.S. and EU to establish a specialized ‘antibacterial drug pipeline work group,’ which would be responsible for indentifying strategies to motivate antibiotic drug development.”

Because this issue is so critically important, IDSA has also urged that the U.S. and EU activities be carried out at the highest levels of both governments, within the White House—possibly in connection with the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology—and the European Commission. A full description of the proposed work group and its charge can be found in IDSA’s letter to Obama and Reinfeldt.

Antimicrobial resistance has been a primary concern of IDSA’s for many years. In 2004, the organization released a report, “Bad Bugs, No Drugs, As Antibiotic Discovery Stagnates, A Public Health Crisis Brews," which described the antibiotic resistance crisis and detailed the complex mix of factors driving drug makers out of the antibiotics market. The Society also worked with Rep. Jim Matheson (R-UT) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to draft the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act, legislation that provides important solutions to contain the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bad bugs. More information about the STAAR Act is available HERE.

“The 10 X ’20 Initiative must succeed in creating a stable research infrastructure for antibiotic development, otherwise physicians around the world will be left without the tools they need to effectively treat patients,” said Whitley.

 

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