The United Nations' all-human warning: All antibiotics are becoming useless

Outterson's fear at this time is that the number of people who die from antibiotic resistance may have to climb to a very high level, before causing the attention of the majority of the public.

"Common [infections] are turning into incurable diseases." It was a blunt warning, right on the first page of a new UN report on current antibiotic resistance.

If at this time we do not create a fundamental change to solve the problem, the report said that from 2050 onwards, about 10 million people will die each year from infectious diseases. There is no cure.


How common infections are turning into incurable diseases.

Antibiotic resistance is killing 700,000 people every year

In fact, antibiotic resistance is what happens when people abuse too much medicine to treat people, animals and even plants. When a new antibiotic is put into use, it can provide excellent healing effects, saving many lives.

But then, the bacteria will gradually adapt to antibiotics. Over time, this antibiotic will become ineffective, we must find a new antibiotic to replace it. Just like that, the new antibiotic was born and then resisted, like a series of dominoes pushed down by bacteria.

When the dominoes finally come down, we simply don't have a single drug to save lives, even from common infections, before taking just one dose of antibiotics.

At this time, there are 700,000 people worldwide die every year from drug-resistant infections, of which 230,000 people die from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Common diseases such as urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases are also becoming more difficult to treat. Procedures that were previously considered common, such as a caesarean section at a hospital, have become much more dangerous in the context of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Despite this fact, the new UN report said doctors and farmers in many countries around the world are still abusing antibiotics in health care and breeding, promoting strong resistant bacteria. than.

Amy Mathers, head of the Sink Lab at the University of Virginia, said: "Over the past decade, the number of effective non-antibiotic infections has been increasing in the United States." " I encountered such a disease every month, " Mathers said. " Ten years ago, those were rare cases."


Antibiotic resistance is killing 700,000 people every year, the number will increase to 10 million by 2050.

We don't need much money to solve the problem

Experts like Mathers are contributing their voices to the public warning, that drug-resistant viruses will pose a huge threat to our health.

But the UN report added that drug resistance could also seriously affect the economy. By making health care costs skyrocketing, it can create economic losses on par with the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The good news is that this problem can be solved by a modest cost. If the United Nations reports that if every citizen in high-income countries and on average invests only $ 2 a year, we might have the potential to help scientists study new drugs. , and take effective measures to reduce the risk of drug-resistant infections.

"For the United States in particular, the total cost to overcome the lapse of antibiotics is 1.5-2 billion dollars per year, " said Kevin Outterson, a professor of antibiotic resistance at the University. Boston said. "It's equal to the money we spend on buying toilet paper in a few months."

Moreover, antibiotic resistance can be more easily cope with climate change, because this is a matter of getting consensus on both science and politics.

It is not like people are arguing now to see if climate change is real or not. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and incurable illnesses are present and life threatening of any one of us, at any time.


If each person contributes 2 USD / year, antibiotic resistance will be solved.

Antibiotics should be considered special goods, the government should invest in research

So if we don't spend a lot of money and have agreed to solve such a global problem, why does antibiotic resistance exist even more and more?

In fact, it takes many years to be able to research and develop a drug before launching it. Most new antibiotic compounds will fail at the experimental stage.

Even when scientists successfully research, antibiotics are now very cheap. Pharmaceutical companies are simply not keen to invest in these studies. Instead, they will produce more profitable drugs, such as diabetes or cancer drugs.

Therefore, the United Nations report said that we need financial incentives to promote pharmaceutical companies to study new antibiotics.

Although antibiotic resistance affects equally high-income and low-income countries, the paradox is that rich countries will be better equipped to deal with the crisis, and therefore feel less urgent in solve problems proactively.

The UN report and some other experts say that to solve the problem, we need to redesign the antibiotic treatment process . One of them is to take antibiotics out of the free market, the market still allows the price of drugs to be determined by the quantity sold so pushing the price of antibiotics down is very cheap, making them more easily abused .


One solution is to get antibiotics out of the free market.

A better model at this point should probably consider antibiotics to be a special commodity , affecting society in terms of infrastructure or national security issues. Thereby, the health ministries can tighten antibiotic management. At the same time, the government can also fund drug research and development.

"Antibiotics are a product that we want to sell as little as possible," explained Professor Outterson. " Ideally, each of us should have only one antibiotic blister pack in our home medicine box, the kind that can hold for decades, and only be used when we need it."

Although this scenario is a great thing for our health, Professor Outterson said that for pharmaceutical companies, it would be a disaster. They may have to spend billions of dollars to develop a new antibiotic, only to sell 1 person for 10 years.

This irrationality in the pharmaceutical industry is why the government (and ideally the private sector and civil society) needs to step into problem solving, the UN report for know.

Governments should have incentives such as funding and tax credit to support pharmaceutical companies to study antibiotics at an early stage. The report also calls on rich countries to help poor nations improve their health systems and recommend the creation of a new intergovernmental council - like a climate change workshop, to address antibiotic resistance. .


Governments, even intergovernmental, should invest in new antibiotic research.

How many people die from antibiotic resistance, before you start acting?

However, in order for governments to agree and work together to solve this problem, the public should first realize and consider it a top priority. But in fact, not everyone today, even in a country like the United States, can recognize and act seriously against the situation of antibiotic resistance.

"I don't think that politics or intellectuals in the US can now bring antibiotic resistance into a priority issue to address today, " Math Mathers said.

Therefore, the first thing we need to do now is to educate the public more so that even an average American, or citizens in other countries, recognize the threat and the seriousness. weight of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Outterson agrees with that. He argued that a report - even a major UN report - did not turn much into it at this time."If I have a dollar for every report on this issue, I probably already have a lot of money," he said, referring to the reports that were written a lot but hardly anyone acted.

Outterson's fear at this time is that the number of people who die from antibiotic resistance may have to climb to a very high level, before causing the attention of the majority of the public.

When antibiotic resistance has not knocked on your door, we have to ask the question: How many people need to die before you care about this problem, and promote your own actions as well as society?

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