Drug-resistant diseases on the rise: study

June 15, 2010

Efforts by rich countries to provide drugs to help fight diseases in poor countries has accelerated disease resistance to antibiotics, a report out Tuesday said.

The result is that more people are dying from diseases that used to be curable because they are being treated with older-generation drugs, said the Center for Global Development (CGD), a non-governmental organization based in Washington.

Over the past years developed countries and private aid groups have given increased access to drugs to treat diseases such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis, according to the report.

The result: strains of those diseases are increasingly resistant to , and the world is losing its ability to treat these and more common diseases such as dysentery and respiratory infections.

In recent years poor countries have had a 10-fold increase in access to anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients, a more than eight-fold increase in deliveries of anti-malaria drugs, and a large increase in access to anti-tuberculosis drugs, the report said.

These "laudable" efforts have saved many lives, "but they are hindered by drug resistance that could be avoided," said a statement announcing the report.

"Until now, surprisingly little effort has gone into ensuring that life-saving drugs will continue to work."

Millions of children die in developing countries each year from drug resistant diseases -- and since 2006 donors have spent more than 1.5 billion dollars on advanced drugs to treat resistant diseases, the report said.

"Unless action is taken, the stage is set for both the death toll and the dollar cost to rise," a statement said. "Donors are already budgeting for increased purchases of expensive specialized drugs needed to treat resistant diseases."

The report called on the (WHO) "to reverse a decade of neglect of drug resistance and to take the lead in getting others involved.

"Action is needed from a wide variety of stakeholders -- pharmaceutical companies, national governments, philanthropies that buy and distribute medicines, hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and even patients."

Drug resistance "is a natural occurrence, but careless practices in drug supply and use are hastening it unnecessarily", said Rachel Nugent, chair of the expert Working Group that prepared the report, "The Race Against ."

Developed countries have similar problems: "superbugs" like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) "increased from roughly two percent to more than 50 percent of staph infections in many US hospitals between 1974 and 2004. More people in the United States die each year from MRSA than HIV/AIDS," the statement said.

More than three million children each year die of bacterial acute respiratory infections, for example, while malaria kills two million.

"Many of these cases involve strains resistant to common drugs," the statement said.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Four simple tests could help GPs spot pneumonia and reduce unnecessary antibiotics

November 23, 2017
Testing for fever, high pulse rate, crackly breath sounds, and low oxygen levels could be key to helping GPs distinguish pneumonia from less serious infections, according to a large study published in the European Respiratory ...

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

Rainfall can indicate that mosquito-borne epidemics will occur weeks later

November 22, 2017
A new study demonstrates that outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses Zika and Chikungunya generally occur about three weeks after heavy rainfall.Researchers also found that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika when both circulate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.