Title Title
'Fight for our Lives’ focuses on superbug crisis Antibiotic resistance: a looming crisis
Summary Summary
Resistance to antibiotics is a problem which could kill millions every year if we fail to act  Resistance to antibiotics is a problem which could kill more people than cancer in 2050, if we fail to act
Highlights Highlights
  Antibiotic resistance jeopardises common treatments
London exhibition runs till spring 2019 , 'It's definitely going to get worse' , 'Stop treating antibiotics like sweets'   , 'It's definitely going to get worse' , 'Stop treating antibiotics like sweets'
Content Content
By 2050 antibiotic resistant infections could be killing 10 million people every year, the curator of a major exhibition on the subject has warned.  <strong>By 2050 antibiotic resistant infections could kill 10 million people every year, the curator of a major exhibition on the subject has warned.</strong>
"This is one of these scenarios where millions of people could die, and are dying, and we could do something about it right now in order to protect people years down the line - if we act," says Sheldon Paquin, as the London's <a href="https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/">Science Museum</a> 'superbugs' exhibition launches.  "This is one of these scenarios where millions of people could die, and are dying, and we could do something about it right now in order to protect people years down the line - if we act," Sheldon Paquin said at the launch of London's <a href="https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/">Science Museum</a> 'Superbugs' exhibition.
"Otherwise, we could very well be part of that statistic where in 2050 we're looking at 10 million people dying every year from antibiotic-resistant infections," he says.  "Otherwise, we could very well be part of that statistic where in 2050 we're looking at 10 million people dying every year from antibiotic-resistant infections," he said.
  [caption id="attachment_21433" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]<img class="size-large wp-image-21433" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/1024px-Antibiotic_sensitvity_and_resistance-1024x531.jpg" alt="The petri dish on the left has a large clear area around the antibiotic containing white paper discs so shows these bacteria are sensitive to the antibiotics. The petri dish on the right has only two small circles around the antibiotic containing white paper discs so shows these bacteria are resistant to most of the antibiotics." width="1024" height="531" /> The petri dish on the left has a large clear area around the antibiotic containing white paper discs so shows these bacteria are sensitive to the antibiotics. The petri dish on the right has only two small circles around the antibiotic containing white paper discs so shows these bacteria are resistant to most of the antibiotics. (Author: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Graham_Beards">Dr Graham Beards</a>, CC BY SA 4.0)[/caption]
The start of the exhibition, <a href="https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/superbugs-fight-our-lives?gclid=Cj0KCQiAlpDQBRDmARIsAAW6-DOCrE90ezhl-JZSHU0barW3xRYLnFG0FOpx5Xwx-FQaJmHmMkT4WM4aAkKZEALw_wcB" rel="external">Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives,</a> which documents the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, came just before <a href="http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-antibiotic-awareness-week/en/">World Antibiotic Awareness Week</a>, and runs until spring 2019.  The start of the exhibition, <a href="https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/superbugs-fight-our-lives?gclid=Cj0KCQiAlpDQBRDmARIsAAW6-DOCrE90ezhl-JZSHU0barW3xRYLnFG0FOpx5Xwx-FQaJmHmMkT4WM4aAkKZEALw_wcB" rel="external">Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives,</a> which documents the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, came just before <a href="http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-antibiotic-awareness-week/en/">World Antibiotic Awareness Week</a> promoted by the <a href="http://www.who.int/en/">World Health Organization</a> and runs until spring 2019.
[caption id="attachment_20513" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20513" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-103-620x413.jpg" alt="Sheldon Paquin has spent the last 12 months curating the exhibition Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives (WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)" width="620" height="413" /> Sheldon Paquin has spent the past 12 months curating the exhibition 'Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives' (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]  
The exhibition highlights the scale of antibiotic resistance, features new technologies trying to counter the problem and displays penicillium mould grown from the original samples used by Alexander Fleming, when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming">he first identified penicillin</a>. The exhibition highlights the scale of antibiotic resistance, features new technologies trying to counter the problem and displays penicillium mould grown from the original samples used by Alexander Fleming, when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming">he first identified penicillin</a>.
Paquin told Wikitribune that even common procedures we take for granted - caesareans, hip and knee replacements, chemotherapy - might be impossible in the future because the risk of untreatable infection could be too high. "We really need to step up our networking between hospitals and also between countries. Bacteria don't have borders, but we - very sillily- kind of do."  Paquin told <em>Wikitribune</em> that even common procedures we take for granted - caesareans, hip and knee replacements, chemotherapy - might be impossible in the future because the risk of untreatable infection could be too high. "We really need to step up our networking between hospitals and also between countries. Bacteria don't have borders, but we ... kind of do."
Jim O'Neill, who chaired the UK government <a href="https://amr-review.org/Publications.html" rel="external">Review on Antimicrobial Resistance</a>, commissioned by then UK Prime Minister David Cameron, says, "the problem's definitely going to get worse." "Even if every pharmaceutical company decided in the next five minutes to focus on it [antibiotic resistance], we wouldn't have all the new drugs for another decade at least."  
  [caption id="attachment_20513" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-20513 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-103-620x413.jpg" alt="Sheldon Paquin has spent the last 12 months curating the exhibition Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives (WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)" width="620" height="413" /> Sheldon Paquin has spent the last 12 months curating the exhibition Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives (WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
  Lord (Jim) O'Neill, who chaired the British government and industry investigation, <a href="https://amr-review.org/Publications.html" rel="external">Review on Antimicrobial Resistance</a>, commissioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron, said, "the problem's definitely going to get worse."
  "Even if every pharmaceutical company decided in the next five minutes to focus on it [antibiotic resistance], we wouldn't have all the new drugs for another decade at least."
[caption id="attachment_20515" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20515" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-48-620x413.jpg" alt="Jim O'Neill was asked to be Chairman of the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance by David Cameron because of his experience as an economist" width="620" height="413" /> Jim O'Neill was asked to chair the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance by David Cameron because of his experience as an economist (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20515" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20515" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-48-620x413.jpg" alt="Jim O'Neill was asked to be Chairman of the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance by David Cameron because of his experience as an economist" width="620" height="413" /> Jim O'Neill was asked to chair the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance by David Cameron because of his experience as an economist (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
The time-lag for drug development is long. It can take companies 15 or 20 years to get a successful drug to market. The time-lag for drug development is long. It can take companies 15 or 20 years to get a successful drug to market.
<p align="left">As well as developing new drugs, O'Neill says "we need to stop treating antibiotics like sweets" and that "in general antibiotic prescription is excessive in the UK." According to O'Neill there's a lot of evidence of at least 50 percent over-prescription in many parts of the developed world.</p>  <p align="left">As well as developing new drugs, O'Neill said "we need to stop treating antibiotics like sweets" and that "in general antibiotic prescription is excessive in the UK." According to O'Neill there's evidence of at least 50 percent over-prescription in many parts of the developed world.</p>
<p align="left">Seema Patel, medical director of Pfizer Essential Health UK, explained "a lot of people think that going to a GP and getting an antibiotic is a successful visit to the GP. Many times they don't necessarily need an antibiotic, and that wastage and that misuse of the antibiotic drives resistance."</p>  <p align="left">Seema Patel, medical director of Pfizer Essential Health UK, explained "a lot of people think that going to a GP (general practitioner) and getting an antibiotic is a successful visit to the GP. Many times they don't necessarily need an antibiotic, and that wastage and that misuse of the antibiotic drives resistance."</p>
<p align="left">On the positive side, the rate of prescription in the UK appears to be slowing. However, doctors prescribing patients fewer drugs presents a problem for pharmaceutical companies.</p> <p align="left">On the positive side, the rate of prescription in the UK appears to be slowing. However, doctors prescribing patients fewer drugs presents a problem for pharmaceutical companies.</p>
[caption id="attachment_20520" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20520" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-59-620x413.jpg" alt="Seema Patel, Medical Director of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Essential Health UK (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)" width="620" height="413" /> Seema Patel, medical director of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Essential Health UK (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20520" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20520" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-59-620x413.jpg" alt="Seema Patel, Medical Director of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Essential Health UK (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)" width="620" height="413" /> Seema Patel, medical director of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Essential Health UK (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
<p align="left">Laura Bowater, professor of microbiology education and engagement at the University of East Anglia, says to "those who are saying to those pharmaceutical companies: 'you know what? We don't wanna use our antibiotic that readily. We want to keep it for special occasions when nothing else works. It's gonna be put on the top shelf and only used occasionally.' I wouldn't invest in that, would you?"</p>  <p align="left">Laura Bowater, professor of microbiology education and engagement at the University of East Anglia, said  to "those who are saying to those pharmaceutical companies: 'you know what? We don't wanna use our antibiotic that readily. We want to keep it for special occasions when nothing else works. It's gonna be put on the top shelf and only used occasionally.' I wouldn't invest in that, would you?"</p>
<p align="left">She believes drug research needs to be made more attractive to pharmaceutical companies, suggesting they could possibly own drug patents for longer to maximise profits. To incentivise pharmaceuticals, one of the Antimicrobial Resistance review's recommendations is that medical companies who produce a new desired drug should receive a grant of around $1.2 billion</p>  <p align="left">She believes drug research needs to be made more attractive to pharmaceutical companies, suggesting they could possibly own drug patents for longer to maximise profits. To incentivise the development of new pharmaceutical drugs, one of the Antimicrobial Resistance review's recommendations is that medical companies that produce a new desired drug should receive a grant of around $1.2 billion.</p>
<p align="left">Bowater says: "If you look at the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider">Large Hadron Collider</a>, [or] the space programme that takes millions and millions of pounds - the government's happy to invest in that - we don't see nearly that amount of money going into research into antimicrobial resistance. More money goes into cancer. But actually, antimicrobial resistance is going to be more of a concern than cancer in 33 years time."</p>  <p align="left">Bowater says: "If you look at the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider">Large Hadron Collider</a>, [or] the space program that takes millions and millions of pounds - the government's happy to invest in that - we don't see nearly that amount of money going into research into antimicrobial resistance. More money goes into cancer. But actually, antimicrobial resistance is going to be more of a concern than cancer in 33 years time."</p>
[caption id="attachment_20521" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20521" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-84-620x413.jpg" alt="Professor of Microbiology Education and Engagement at UEA, Laura Bowater, leads a science public engagement programme." width="620" height="413" /> Laura Bowater is professor of microbiology education and engagement at the University of East Anglia.  (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20521" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20521" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/Superbugs-Exhibition-84-620x413.jpg" alt="Professor of Microbiology Education and Engagement at UEA, Laura Bowater, leads a science public engagement programme." width="620" height="413" /> Laura Bowater is professor of microbiology education and engagement at the University of East Anglia.  (Photo:WikiTribune/Francis Augusto CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
<p align="left">The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance also recommends farmers reduce their use of antibiotics on livestock.</p> <p align="left">The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance also recommends farmers reduce their use of antibiotics on livestock.</p>
<p align="left">Agriculture has become a massive sponge for antibiotics. In 2009, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold were used on livestock and poultry, <a href="http://www.worldwatch.org/global-meat-production-and-consumption-continue-rise">according to the Worldwatch Institute</a>. While farmers might fear reduced profits without them, O'Neill says that Denmark, a <a href="http://www.agricultureandfood.dk/danish-agriculture-and-food/danish-pig-meat-industry">major pork producer</a>, decided more than 10 ten years ago to slash its use of antibiotics in agriculture, and subsequently their share of the global bacon market rose. "There's no evidence to suggest that [reducing antibiotic use] would make life more difficult for farmers. They just need to behave differently, as we need our doctors to behave differently, too," he says.</p>  <p align="left">Agriculture has become a massive consumer of antibiotics. In 2009, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold were used on livestock and poultry, <a href="http://www.worldwatch.org/global-meat-production-and-consumption-continue-rise">according to environmental sustainability pressure group, the Worldwatch Institute</a>. While farmers might fear reduced profits without them, O'Neill says that Denmark, a <a href="http://www.agricultureandfood.dk/danish-agriculture-and-food/danish-pig-meat-industry">major pork producer</a>, decided more than ten years ago to slash its use of antibiotics in agriculture, and subsequently its share of the global bacon market rose. "There's no evidence to suggest that [reducing antibiotic use] would make life more difficult for farmers. They just need to behave differently, as we need our doctors to behave differently, too," he says.</p>
<p align="LEFT">According to Bowater, future research efforts should pursue both drugs derived from natural and synthetic chemical compounds. But she says, "natural products have been the winners up until now."</p> <p align="LEFT">According to Bowater, future research efforts should pursue both drugs derived from natural and synthetic chemical compounds. But she says, "natural products have been the winners up until now."</p>
  [caption id="attachment_21043" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-21043" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/agar-60571-620x393.jpg" alt="bacteria petri dish Pixabay (CCO)" width="620" height="393" /> Bacteria petri dish (Pixabay, CCO)[/caption]
<p align="LEFT"><em>See <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/?post_type=stories&amp;p=2779">Harry Ridgewell's feature</a> on how the loss of forests is endangering development of new effective drugs.</em></p> <p align="LEFT"><em>See <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/?post_type=stories&amp;p=2779">Harry Ridgewell's feature</a> on how the loss of forests is endangering development of new effective drugs.</em></p>
<p align="LEFT"></p>  
Categories Categories
Medicine Health, Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Science, United Kingdom, Medicine
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emerging report
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  antibiotic resistance, Future, London, Medicinal drugs
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