More than 1.2 million people have died from drug-resistant infections

More than 1.2 million people worldwide died in 2019 caused by bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics, which is more than they died from HIV / AIDS or malaria, according to a new report released on Thursday.

World health officials have repeatedly warned of the spread of bacteria and other drug-resistant microbes due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages microorganisms to grow into so-called “superbugs”.

A new global antimicrobial resistance report published in the medical journal The Lancet reveals that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is directly responsible for an estimated 1.27 million deaths and an estimated 4.95 million deaths. For the purpose of the study, data from 204 countries and territories in the world were analyzed.

“These new data reveal the true dimension of antimicrobial resistance worldwide… Previous estimates predicted 10 million annual deaths from AMR by 2050, but we now know for sure that we are already much closer to that figure than we thought,” said Chris Murray. , co-author of the study and professor at the University of Washington.

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that none of the 43 antibiotics in development or recently approved drugs were sufficient to fight antimicrobial resistance.

Cornelius Clancy, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, says one way to solve the AMR problem is to look for a new model of treatment.

“I think the traditional model of antibiotics that we had for the last few decades of penicillin is now obsolete,” Clancy said.

Most deaths in 2019 were caused by drug resistance in lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, followed by circulatory infections and intra-abdominal infections.

The impact of AMR is now most severe in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with around one in five deaths reported in children under five.

The researchers report that the availability of data for some regions, especially some low- and middle-income countries, has been limited, which may affect the accuracy of the study estimates. Clancy therefore warns that the focus has been on Covid-19 for the past two years, but that AMR is a “long-term challenge”.

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