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19.03.12

Drug resistance spells the ‘end of modern medicine’ – WHO

Common antibiotics could soon become ‘useless’, as bacteria become rapidly resistant to our current treatments and drugs, the WHO has warned.

The organisation believes that replacement medicines could become more expensive, with longer periods of treatment required to bring about the same effect.

WHO blamed the misuse of antibiotics for the severity of the situation. These are often not prescribed properly, used too frequently and for too long, leading to increased resistance.

Additionally, there is little incentive for industry to invest in research and development for new drugs in the future. The WHO is calling on governments worldwide to support this research.

Speaking at a conference for infectious disease, Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, said: “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.

“Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise inEuropeand elsewhere in the world. We are losing our first-line antimicrobials.

“Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units.

“For patients infected with some drug-resistant pathogens, mortality has been shown to increase by around 50%.

“A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it.”

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