- Bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics have been discovered in China. This news comes as at least three other countries (Italy, Greece and Malta) also report endemic levels of resistance to last-resort antibiotics.
- A recently published article in Lancet Infectious Diseases discussed the existence of this multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO), which can overwhelm even the most powerful, last-resort antibiotic.
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is aggressively addressing the problem through attempts to control antibiotics overuse and to contain the spread of resistant bacteria. However, even they concede this may be all but impossible.
Many have anticipated news like this, but what are the key takeaways? First, over-consumption of antibiotics has propelled the growth of difficult-to-treat MDROs. Second, more people will likely die from MDRO infections. Third, the uncovered mutation can be easily shared between bacteria. Finally, major R&D efforts already underway in antibiotic development need to be expedited and supported with an even greater sense of urgency.
According to a statement from the EMA: “To advise policy makers on the best way to tackle antimicrobial resistance, robust scientific data on how antimicrobials are used across the EU and how resistance emerges and transfers are needed. This requires close cooperation between the various European agencies that have responsibilities in this area.”