Killer Superbugs: Coming For Us All

Rohingya refugees in refugee camp in Bangladesh, 2017.

“Migration may contribute substantially to the spread of AMR [antimicrobial resistance]. Refugees and migrants mostly come from countries with considerably higher rates of MDR [multidrug-resistant] bacteria … ” – U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2018 Nov 8

Dec 23, 2019

Los Angeles Times – We’re crawling on your skin. Teeming under your toenails. And lurking on your doorknobs and countertops.

We’re drug-resistant microbes, immune to all but your strongest antibiotics.

And we’re evolving so fast that soon even those medicines won’t stop us. Unless your scientists invent new antibiotics, we’ll kill 10 million people annually by 2050.

We didn’t always pose such a dire threat to mankind. In fact, antibiotics once threatened to eliminate our species.

“Why isn’t your scientific community pouring more resources into this fight? Frankly, the market discourages it. Developing a new drug takes more than a decade and costs more than $2.5 billion.”

After your scientists developed these drugs in the 1920s, deaths from bacterial infections like pneumonia and cholera plummeted. In the United States, life expectancy jumped from 54 years in 1920 to almost 79 years today, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

“A new review of research on migrant populations in Europe has found that more than a quarter are infected or colonized with antibiotic-resistant bacteria … ” – Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota | Source

But over the years, your doctors prescribed the same treatments over and over — and we eventually evolved to resist them.

For instance, Bactrim, once a sure-fire cure for urinary tract infections, now can’t effectively treat a third of them. Ceftriaxone, an antibiotic that previously knocked out gonorrhea, often proves ineffective against the sexually transmitted infection.

It’s so ineffective that the CDC recently changed nationwide treatment protocols, urging doctors to prescribe a second antibiotic simultaneously. And numerous drugs have failed against a superbug known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a type of microbe that’s virtually untreatable.

All told, we drug-resistant microbes infect almost 3 million Americans each year and kill 162,000 of them …

“If no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 … ” – UN Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

Why isn’t your scientific community pouring more resources into this fight? Frankly, the market discourages it.

Developing a new drug takes more than a decade and costs more than $2.5 billion.

Normally, your pharmaceutical companies would recoup those costs by selling new medicines in high volume.

But that sales model doesn’t work for advanced antibiotics … Read more.