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A Pandemic We Can Prevent

Although antimicrobial resistance has been a known and growing problem for decades, only one new class of antibiotics has been discovered since 1984. Tackling AMR requires a fundamental change in how new antibiotics are valued, and government incentives that reward biotech firms for successfully developing them.

GENEVA – More than one in five Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 also contracts a bacterial infection. Absent effective antibiotics, those lucky enough to beat the coronavirus might die at the hands of these not-so-novel pathogens.

Unfortunately, the pipeline of new antibiotics is running dry. Less than 100 years after the development of penicillin, drug-resistant superbugs are threatening to gain the upper hand in our fight against bacterial infections.

Superbugs already take an enormous toll on health-care systems around the world. About 700,000 people globally die each year due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Without new and better treatments, that figure could rise to ten million by 2050.