WHO warns lack of new antibiotics threatens efforts to contain drug-resistant infections

21 January 2020

Article: 54/306

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that declining private investment and lack of innovation in the development of new antibiotics are undermining efforts to combat drug-resistant infections.

The warning came as the WHO published two new reports that reveal a weak development pipeline for new antibiotic drugs. The 60 products in development, comprising of 50 antibiotics and 10 biologics, were found to bring little benefit over existing treatments and few target the most critical resistant bacteria, gram-negative bacteria.

The reports also show that while pre-clinical drugs (those in the early stages of testing) are more innovative, they will not be available for patients for many years. The reports also highlight the fact that research and development for antibiotics is mainly driven by small or medium-sized enterprises, while large pharmaceutical companies are continuing to exit the field.

The reports are both available from the WHO website: 

Source: WHO, 17 January 2020