Medicine risks going “back to the dark ages”

Claire Williamson Donate

Medicine risks “going back to the dark ages” without action to spur the development of new antibiotics, according to Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization. Only two new antibiotics have reached the market in the last 50 years and this has already started to have an impact on ordinary people.

In May this year, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) was one of the focuses of the meeting between G20 health ministers, which described antibiotic resistance as a ‘threat to public health and economic growth’. In June, The World Health Organisation warned of the imminent spread of an untreatable strain of gonorrhoea, and in the same month, the American Society for Microbiology discovered further resistance in Colistin, the world’s antibiotic of last-resort.

You may also have seen the stories of well-known people who have been affected by antibiotic resistance in the media, including Fern Britton, Elton John, and Leslie Ash. Antiques Roadshow expert David Battie, who is also an ANTRUK ambassador, suffered from an antibiotic resistant infection which almost cost him his leg and still causes him pain to this day, demonstrating the harsh impact that antibiotic resistance is having on our lives.

An estimated 1,900 people already die each day of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, which equates to 700,000 deaths globally, every year. According to the UK’s 2016 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, this figure could potentially rise to 10 million deaths per year by 2050 if we do not take action now. Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has classified AMR as one of the main threats to the country, alongside terrorism and pandemics.

There is still hope though, and ANTRUK is making ground-breaking discoveries in our research programmes. With your support, we can discover new antibiotic therapies and can continue to fight the threat of drug resistant infection.

To help us fight against antibiotic resistance, please consider donating through our donate page. You can also support us by texting ANTR16 followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070 – for example, ‘ANTR16 £10’.

All donations will go towards the charity’s research into new antibiotic therapies and will help to fund upcoming education programmes nationwide.