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No New Antibiotics Developed Globally Over 15 Years – Experts

Medical experts have said no new antibiotics have been developed or released at global levels for the treatment of infections in the past 15 years.

The physicians said that apart from reproducing the already existing ones, the world has not produced any new antibiotics with high strength to deal with the issues of antibiotic resistance.

A Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Benue State University, Godwin Jombo, said Nigeria should develop interest in research and production of high-quality antibiotics to deal with diseases that have developed resistance to the existing antibiotics.

Jombo said, “Africa and Nigeria should develop interest and produce their new antibiotics. For the past 15 years now, there have been no new antibiotics being released globally and in Nigeria for the treatment of infections.

“We need to do this so that we don’t get to the point where we will be helpless in treating common illnesses in our hospitals. We need to research the new antibiotics that would help get these germs killed without waiting for these Westerners.

“The westerners are not bothered again to develop more of that and we need to do our own. If we don’t do this, we will get to the point when it becomes difficult for us to treat common infections.”

Speaking further on how the issues of Antimicrobial Resistance have affected the country in recent times, he said, “Considering AMR, we need to discourage the pharmacists from selling antibiotics to the public because that is where the problem is coming from.

“Antibiotics should be prescribed by the doctors and dispensed by the pharmacists strictly on doctor’s prescription. Antibiotics are special drugs and should be prescribed on a sheet and dispensed by pharmacists to people with doctor’s prescriptions and not over the counter.”

Corroborating his views, a Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at the Epe General Hospital, Epe, Lagos, Dr Cynrhia Okafor said, “There have not been new antibiotics in the recent time, a situation that has made the country be at the mercy of foreign drugs.

“This is a sad reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic where the drugs produced abroad could not get to us in time and the right quantity. Nigeria and other African countries were stranded as they all depended on foreign-made drugs and vaccines to protect their citizens.

“We need drug security in Nigeria. We need to manufacture and control our drugs and with that, we can treat emerging diseases effectively. Almost all the antibiotics in this part of the world are not active again. Due to misuse and over-usage, they have become ineffective.

“Before the exit of GlaxoSmithKline Plc., we normally prescribed their products among the strong antibiotics of choice, but we need to develop ours with the right ingredients to protect the masses and equip our healthcare facilities.”

According to the World Health Organisation, antimicrobial resistance is one of the top global public health and development threats.

The WHO estimated that bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths.

He said, “The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

“AMR affects countries in all regions and at all income levels. Its drivers and consequences are exacerbated by poverty, and inequality, and low- and middle-income countries are most affected.

“AMR puts many of the gains of modern medicine at risk. It makes infections harder to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments – such as surgery, caesarean sections and cancer chemotherapy – much riskier.

“The world faces an antibiotics pipeline and access crisis. There is an inadequate research and development pipeline in the face of rising levels of resistance, and an urgent need for additional measures to ensure equitable access to new and existing vaccines, diagnostics and medicines.

“In addition to death and disability, AMR has significant economic costs. The World Bank estimates that AMR could result in US$ 1 trillion in additional healthcare costs by 2050, and US$ 1 trillion to US$ 3.4 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) losses per year by 2030 (2).

“Priorities to address AMR in human health include preventing all infections, which may result in inappropriate use of antimicrobials; ensuring universal access to quality diagnosis and appropriate treatment of infections.

“Others include strategic information and innovation, surveillance of AMR and antimicrobial consumption/use, as well as research and development for novel vaccines, diagnostics and medicines.”

SOURCE: HealthWise