Antibiotics: is David Cameron

about to save the world?
WEDNESDAY 02 JULY 2014
The rise in antibiotic resistance, and lack o ne! dr"#s to co$e, is set to be
a disaster or h"%anit& ' or that is !hat %an& scientists !arn( And no!
Da)id *a%eron %i#ht $re)ent it +&es, reall&,(
Scientists are not kno!n or o)er'e-a##eratin# +"nlike, ahe%, .o"rnalists,(
So !hen the U/0s chie %edical o1cer !arns that the era o %odern
%edicine !ill co%e to an end "nless action is taken on antibiotic dr"#s,
$osin# !hat she describes as a 2catastro$hic threat2, it is !orth $a&in#
attention(
3roessor Da%e Sall& Da)ies0 !arnin# co%es ater a si%ilarl& a$ocal&$tic
re$ort ro% the World 4ealth 5r#anisation in 6a&(
2Witho"t "r#ent, coordinated action b& %an& stakeholders, the !orld is
headed or a $ost'antibiotic era, in !hich co%%on inections and %inor
in."ries !hich ha)e been treatable or decades can once a#ain kill,2 said Dr
/ei.i 7"k"da, Who0s assistant director #eneral or health sec"rit&( 2The
i%$lications !ill be de)astatin#(2
8ead %ore9 S"$erb"#s, antibiotics and %e ' the ke& :"estions
And no! 3ri%e 6inister Da)id *a%eron is #ettin# in on the act(
Anno"ncin# a ne! initiati)e to look at ho! $har%ace"tical co%$anies can
be enco"ra#ed into %akin# ne! antibiotics, 6r *a%eron said9 2; !e ail to
act, !e are lookin# at an al%ost "nthinkable scenario !here antibiotics !ill
no lon#er !ork and !e are cast back into the dark a#es o %edicine(2
5 co"rse, $oliticians are not kno!n or holdin# back on the rhetoric either '
b"t this ti%e there is so%ethin# di<erent( Ater %onths and &ears o $leas
ro% doctors and scientists on antibiotics and s"$erb"#s, it see%s like
action %a& be abo"t to be taken(
Ti%e to !alk the !alk
La"ra 3iddock, $roessor o %icrobiolo#& at the Uni)ersit& o =ir%in#ha%
and chair o Antibiotic Action, told *hannel 4 Ne!s9 2The %ain concern is
!e kee$ talkin# and talkin# ' b"t !e ha)e to start i%$le%entin# the
reco%%endations %ade b& doctors and scientists(2
The initiati)e is the latest si#n that $oliticians and the $"blic are !akin# "$
to this(
Last %onth the $"blic )oted or the >10% Lon#it"de 3ri?e, !hich ai%s to
@nd, "nd and create !orld'chan#in# sol"tions to %a.or $roble%s, to oc"s
on tacklin# the rise o antibiotic resistance(
Antibiotics are e<ecti)el& )icti%s o their o!n s"ccess( *hea$ and e<ecti)e,
h"%anit& s$rinkled the% ro"nd to kill o< inection in e)er&thin# ro%
bacterial b"#s to hel$in# $atients reco)er ater o$erations( We e)en #a)e
the% to ani%als in the ood chain, to kee$ the% health&(
; !e ail to act, !e are lookin# at an al%ost "nthinkable scenario
!here((( !e are cast back into the dark a#es o %edicine(Da)id
*a%eron
="t ri#ht ro% the %o%ent Ale-ander 7le%in# in)ented $enicillin, back in
1A2B, he !arned that bacteria !o"ld #ro! resistant( 4e !as ri#ht( Nat"ral
$enicillins !ere :"ickl& deeated( S&nthetic $enicillins lasted a bit lon#er(
The third #eneration, carba$ene%s, !ere "rther %odi@ed, b"t in 200C
e)en the& be#an to ail or so%e %icrobes in the U/(
;n $art to tr& and deal !ith the #ro!in# threat o dr"#'resistant %icrobes,
doctors sto$$ed $rescribin# the%( ="t this sli#htl& back@red9 kno!in# this,
$har%ace"tical co%$anies realised the& !o"ldn0t %ake an& %one&
de)elo$in# ne! antibiotics( So the& sto$$ed( No ne! classes o antibiotics
ha)e been de)elo$ed or %ore than 2D &ears and no! #ro!in# n"%bers o
$eo$le are d&in# as a res"lt(
The E"ro$ean *entre or Disease 3re)ention and *ontrol esti%ates that
anti%icrobial resistance res"lts in 2D,000 deaths a &ear(
3roessor 3iddock described it as 2%arket ail"re2( And the $roble%s i it is
not sol)ed are h"#e(
Sa)in# the !orld
2;n the $re'antibiotics era, $eo$le died ro% co%%on inections,2 said
3roessor 3iddock( 2="t the& !eren0t e)en ha)in# thin#s like trans$lants, hi$
o$erations( 5"r %edicine is no! )er& so$histicated so it !ill ha)e a h"#e
i%$act in both hi#h and lo! inco%e co"ntries(2
6r *a%eron0s initiati)e !ill see or%er Eold%an Sachs chie econo%ist Ji%
50Neill lead an international e-$ert #ro"$ oc"sin# on the de)elo$%ent o
antibiotics and the re#"lator& conditions aro"nd the dr"#s, @-in# the
2%arket ail"re2, the rise o dr"#'resistant strains, and the o)er'"se o
antibiotics #loball&( The Wellco%e Tr"st has $led#ed the initial >D00,000
cost o the !ork(
So at the sa%e ti%e as %akin# s"re antibiotics are onl& $rescribed
s$arin#l& and !hen needed, the #ro"$ !ill also look at ho! to sti%"late the
%arket in de)elo$in# ne! antibiotics ' an atte%$t to tackle both sides o
the $roble% at once(
So is this the #olden b"lletF The sol"tionF 8eason to $"t o"r tin cans back in
the c"$board and co%e back do!n o< the re%otest hillsF ;n short9 is Da)id
*a%eron abo"t to sa)e the !orldF
2We are sa)in# the !orld,2 said 3roessor 3iddock @r%l&( 24e can0t do it
alone( 4e0s onl& actin# beca"se !e0)e told hi% action has to be taken( We
are all in)ol)ed in ca"sin# this $roble%, and !e are all in)ol)ed in sol)in#
it(2

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