UN seeks new drugs against 12 super-germs

The UN's health agency today urged the world to create new drugs to tackle 12 killer superbugs which are resistant to antibiotics and threaten an explosion of incurable disease.

The "priority pathogens" include germs that cause deadly infections of the bloodstream, lungs, brain or urinary tract, but do not respond to an ever-longer list of medicines.

In more and more cases, none of the existing drugs work.

"Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options," said Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO), which published the list.

"If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time."

Governments should put in place policies to boost public and private funding for drug research and development against the listed microbes, the WHO said in a statement. The agency previously warned that if nothing is done the world was headed for a "post-antibiotic" era in which common infections and minor injuries become killers once again. Bacteria can develop drug resistance when few take incorrect dose.


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