Antibiotic resistance at risk
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Chan said antibiotic resistance could bring about the end of modern medicine. AP photoAs bacteria evolve to evade antibiotics, common infections could become deadly, according to Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization.
Speaking at a conference in Copenhagen, Chan said antibiotic resistance could bring about “the end of modern medicine as we know it.”
“We are losing our first-line antimicrobials,” she said Wednesday in her keynote address at the conference on combating antimicrobial resistance. “Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units.”
Chan said hospitals have become “hotbeds for highly-resistant pathogens” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, “increasing the risk that hospitalization kills instead of cures.”
Indeed, diseases that were once curable, such as tuberculosis, are becoming harder and more expensive to treat.
Chan said treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis was “extremely complicated, typically requiring two years of medication with toxic and expensive medicines, some of which are in constant short supply. Even with the best of care, only slightly more than 50 percent of these patients will be cured.”
Antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella, E. coli, and gonorrhea have also been discovered. “Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry,” said Chan.