Via The Guardian: Antibiotic-resistant bugs need global response, say health experts. Excerpt:
Public health experts have called on world leaders to establish a global organisation to fight the rising threat from drug-resistant bugs.
Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have reached every country, with some patients being treated with drugs that are now the last line of defence against infections. Scientists gathered at the Royal Society in London on Thursday warned the situation is so desperate that a global response in line with efforts to combat climate change is needed.
About 5,000 people a year die in Britain from infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and drug resistance is growing steadily, eroding the effectiveness of doctors' most powerful antibiotics.
Writing in the journal Nature, Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, and Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Edinburgh University, urge world leaders to set up an international panel on antimicrobial resistance to keep existing drugs working and develop alternatives.
Based on the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change, they say it should be charged with finding ways to slash the use of antibiotics to prevent the spread of resistance, and work with industry to develop drugs and treatments to fight infections caused by bacteria, but also viruses and parasites.
Last year, the UK introduced a five-year plan to improve use of antibiotics, bolster surveillance of resistant bugs and develop tests for the infections. Another area that needs improvement is education of medical students, who typically spend only a week learning about antibiotics.
But Woolhouse said that, as with climate change, countries had to take action together: "A national plan is not enough. We need to address this problem internationally. We need everyone on board."
"In terms of the threat to my own health, and that of my children, and my family's health, I am much more concerned about antimicrobial resistance than I am about climate change," Woolhouse added.