April 20, 2010
|Richard Whitley. Download image.|
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - As the deaths and suffering caused by antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections continue to rise around the world, now is the time to support a global commitment to develop 10 new antibiotics by 2020, says Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) President Richard Whitley, M.D., a renowned researcher and infectious disease physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Whitley, director of UAB's Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, makes a worldwide appeal to support IDSA's new campaign, called the 10 x '20 initiative, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new Safe Healthcare blog. Whitley's April 20 blog post outlines the dangers of antibiotic resistance and makes recommendations for addressing what has become one of the greatest threats to human health.
"There are few antibiotics in the pipeline that would offer benefits over existing drugs," Whitley writes in his post. "The existing drugs we do have are in danger of becoming ineffective as bacteria increasingly develop resistance, threatening to leave us without the tools we need to effectively treat patients.
"How can we reach the 10 x '20 goal? Solving the antibiotic pipeline problem will require the engagement of global political, scientific, medical, industry and policy leaders to determine the right combination of incentives needed to drive innovation in this diminishing segment of the pharmaceutical market," Whitley says.
"One of the most critical needs is the development of new antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, including those caused by gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)," he says. "We must act now to ensure future generations have access to the lifesaving gift of antibiotics."
In 2004, IDSA released the report "Bad Bugs, No Drugs: As Antibiotic Discovery Stagnates, A Public Health Crisis Brews," which describes the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and details some of the factors driving drug makers out of the antibiotics market.
The CDC Safe Healthcare blog launched in March 2010 and features physician authors on preventing infections in health-care settings. The blog is produced by the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
About the UAB Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
The UAB Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases provides excellence in outpatient and inpatient care for infants, children and adolescents diagnosed with bloodstream infections, meningitis, pneumonias, viral diseases and other infections. The division operates a state-of-the-art diagnostic virology laboratory and provides clinical leadership for antibiotic use and infection control at Children's Hospital.