March 15, 2017Posted in: News
WHO has released a list of the 12 bacterial pathogens it thinks should take priority in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Topping the list with “critical priority” come carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two opportunistic pathogens that infect hospital patients with weakened immune systems. Also rated top priority were Enterobacteriaceae resistant to multiple classes of β-lactams, antibiotics which prevent bacteria from building a cell wall. Although uncommon, these infections can result in pneumonia, septicaemia and death without suitable treatment.
Several more widely spread pathogens made the list as “high priority”, including MRSA, food-poisoning culpritsSalmonellae and Campylobacter, as well as stomach-invading Helicobacter pylori and ‘super-gonorrhoea’. Antibiotic resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, two causes of childhood pneumonia, and Shigella, a leading cause of severe diarrhoea, were classified as “medium priority”.
Since antibiotic development is risky and unprofitable for pharmaceutical companies, the past few decades has seen a stall in the antibiotic pipeline. The aim of WHO’s list is to direct research into drugs against the most deadly, resistant and contagious bacteria. It is hoped that in conjunction with antimicrobial stewardship, this will help combat the 700,000 deaths caused by antimicrobial resistance each year.
WHO priority pathogens list
Priority 1: CRITICAL
- Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
- Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing
Priority 2: HIGH
- Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
- Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
- Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
- Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
- Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant
Priority 3: MEDIUM
- Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
- Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
- Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant