The report reveals that none of the 43 antibiotics that are currently in clinical development sufficiently address the problem of drug resistance in the world’s most dangerous bacteria.
"The persistent failure to develop, manufacture, and distribute effective new antibiotics is further fueling the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and threatens our ability to successfully treat bacterial infections," says Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director General on AMR, in a press release on Thursday.
Almost all the new antibiotics that have been brought to market in recent decades are variations of antibiotic drugs classes that had been discovered by the 1980s.
The impact of AMR is most severe in resource-constrained settings and among vulnerable groups such as new-borns and young children.
Bacterial pneumonia and bloodstream infections are among the major causes of childhood mortality under the age of 5.
Approximately 30% of neonates with sepsis die due to bacterial infections resistant to multiple first-line antibiotics.
WHO’s annual Antibacterial Pipeline Report, reviews antibiotics that are in the clinical stages of testing as well as those in early product development.
The aim is to assess progress and identify gaps in relation to urgent threats of drug resistance, and to encourage action to fill those gaps.
The 2020 report reveals a near static pipeline with only few antibiotics being approved by regulatory agencies in recent years.
The review concludes that the clinical pipeline and recently approved antibiotics are insufficient to tackle the challenge of increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.