WHO Publishes 12 Great-Risk Bacteria

First Posted: Mar 01, 2017 03:50 AM EST

The World Health Organization recently put 12 types of bacteria in "urgent" priorities in need of antibiotics. This list is the first of its kind and highlights those that global experts deem as the greatest threats to human health.

Among the factors used to determine the level of risk that bacteria pose the most included the levels of resistance, mortality rates and their prevalence out in communities, as well as the burden that they place on health care systems. CNN reported that WHO is now calling on government and pharmaceutical companies to prioritize the development of drugs that can fight against them.

On top of the list from WHO are the "gram negative" bacteria, which are known to already show resistance to multiple drugs. On this list include Acinetobacter baumannii and pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are linked to hospital acquired infections, such as in nursing homes, and in patients that require medical equipment life ventilators and blood cathethers, which are prone to contamination.

Third on the list are the enterobacteriaceae, which includes E.coli and klebsiella. These do not only pose a great threat to health care but are also responsible for high-mortality rates. Bacteria classifications one through three are noted to be on critical priority.

The three listed have shown resistance to antibiotics, including carbapenems, which are said to be the most effective in terms of multi-drug resistance. The list was released in hopes of guiding and promoting research and development for drugs, which can sometimes take as long as 10 years to reach the market.

The second and third groups of bacteria also show increasing resistance to the main drugs used against them, although there are few other options to diagnose them. Salmonella, gonorrhoea, campylobacter and helicobacter pylori are among those listed in high priority.

Dr. Andrew Edwards, a molecular microbiologist at Imperial College London, shared that he believes governments themselves should set policies to support drug development. He emphasizes that, "There's no point having these drugs if there are no policies in place."

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