- Bacteria becoming resistant to many drugs
- WHO releases list of bacteria that need new drugs developed
- List not meant to scare but speed up drug research
In 2022, the antibacterial drug market will reach $35.6 billion globally, GBI Research forecasts, an increase from around $27.1 billion in 2015.
Innovations in the market have been fueled by the growing concern over, as well as the increased commonness, of antimicrobial resistance.
Vaccines have the largest market share, but several prophylactic monoclonal antibodies are in development.
There are several anti-bacterial drugs on the market. The most common are beta-lactam antibiotics, which includes penicillin. Bacteria, however, has developed resistance to penicillin by producing beta-lactamase enzymes. These enzymes render antibiotics ineffective by breaking open the drugs’ beta-lactam rings.
Beta-lactams are often used in combination with a beta-lactamase inhibitor.
Bacterial have developed resistance to many classes of drugs used to treat bacterial infections, leaving a gap in the market.
In 2015, the World Health Organization launched a plan to combat antibiotic resistance. Part of the plan includes developing new antibiotics. This month, WHO released its list of the 12 priorities that should be the focus of researchers. The list is divided into critical, high and medium priority levels.
The list did not include mycobacterium tuberculosis, because WHO says the goal is to alert researchers to unknown or little-known threats.
TB already is an established threat, the WHO said.
The several criteria for bacteria to be added to the list include the level of antibiotic resistance, how deadly the infections are, if they can be prevented, if there are multiple treatments available, if treatment requires long hospital stays, if new antibiotics are already in the research and development and if it spreads how easily from animal to animal, from animals to humans, or human to human.
The list is not meant to scare the public but to encourage an increase in drug development.
“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options,” Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, said at a press conference. “If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”
Superbugs are antibiotics resistant to all 26 available antibiotics. By 2050, superbugs will kill 10 million people annually and cost the global economy $10 trillion, according to a review commissioned by the British government.
- The dominate vaccines in the market are those that prevent diphtheria, pertussis, pneumococcal infections, and tetanus.
- The key drugs in development are intended to treat methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), pneumonia, sepsis and tuberculosis.
- Other drug classes include fluoroquinolones, which inhibit DNA gyrase, topoisomerase IV, and protein synthesis inhibitors, which are used to treat of bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics.