As a result, there is no single or straightforward way to combat AMR, nor to galvanize development of novel antibiotics. Although some positive measures have been introduced, further – and larger scale – action is needed.
Since the initial era of discovery in the mid-20th century, there has been a lackluster level of innovation in the antibiotics field, and today there are few novel antibiotic classes in development despite the urgency of medical need.
The lagging antimicrobial innovation has certainly made its impact felt. Estimates suggest that resistant infections underlie nearly 700,000 global deaths each year – a figure projected by some to rise to 10 million each year by 2050.
New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death. Each year in the US alone, the CDC reports that at least 2 million people contract an antibiotic-resistant infection, with an estimated annual attributable death toll of 23,000.