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Alarmingly Slow Progress In Antibiotic Development: IDSA


Antibiotic resistance has become a major public health problem, making many bacterial infections impossible to treat. New effective antibiotic drugs are the need of the hour but unfortunately there are not many players in the antibiotics market since there is not much profit to be made by investing in antibiotic R&D.

In order to solve the antibiotic pipeline problem, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, or IDSA, in 2010, launched an initiative known as the 10 x '20, calling for the development of 10 new antibiotics by 2020. But since the launch of the 10 x '20 Initiative, only 1 antibiotic, namely Forest Laboratories' Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil), has been approved by the FDA.

Teflaro was approved in October 2010 to treat adults with community acquired bacterial pneumonia and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, or ABSSSI, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Last month, the CDC warned of a growing prevalence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, at U.S. hospitals.

CRE, which belong to a family of gram-negative bacilli bacteria are nightmare bacteria because it is resistant to even the strongest antibiotic available and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections, said Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last month.

A new report, published online on April 18 in Clinical Infectious Diseases says that there are only seven new drugs in development for the treatment of infections caused by multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli, or GNB, bacteria.

But will any of the drugs currently in development to treat GNB pass muster with FDA? Even if approved, will these drugs be effective against the most resistant bugs that everyone is worried about? These are questions only time will answer, says the report.

Henry Chambers, MD, chair of IDSA's Antimicrobial Resistance Committee, or ARC, said, "In the past, the 10 x '20 goal would have been considered modest, but today the barriers to approval of nine additional antibiotics by 2020 seem insurmountable."

Helen Boucher, MD, lead author of the policy paper and a member of IDSA's Board of Directors and ARC cautioned, "We're losing ground because we are not developing new drugs in pace with superbugs' ability to develop resistance to them. We're on the precipice of returning to the dark days before antibiotics enabled safer surgery, chemotherapy and the care of premature infants. We're all at risk."

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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