SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

IDSA expresses concern that antibiotics are being made too slowly

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved one systemic antibiotic in the past two and a half years, causing concerns in officials that antibiotics are being developed too slowly.

A recent study, published in the March Vital Signs report by the Infectious Disease Society of America, said seven new drugs are being developed to fight infections known to develop resistance. The concern is that the drug technology to make successful vaccinations strong enough to combat stronger, mutated bacteria may not be ready soon enough.

"Some progress has been made in the development of new antibiotics, but it's not nearly enough, and we absolutely must accelerate our efforts, Chair of IDSA's Antimicrobial Resistance Committee Henry Chambers said.

Aside from the approval process for a new antibiotic to be approved by the FDA being extremely difficult, the development of new drugs that can combat "superbugs" is simply not coming fast enough.

"We're losing ground because we are not developing new drugs in pace with superbugs' ability to develop resistance to them," member of IDSA's Board of Directors and ARC Helen W. Boucher said. "We're on the precipice of returning to the dark days before antibiotics enabled safer surgery, chemotherapy and the care of premature infants. We're all at risk."

IDSA's 10 x 20 initiative, which began in 2010, includes an outline of what must be done to address the issue of superbug treatment. It addresses new proposed FDA regulations for antibiotic approval, an increase in research funding, limiting overexposure to antibiotics and the realization that a multi-faced approach must be taken to advance technology to the point that successful antibiotics can developed.

The superbug conflict has come about at a time when pharmaceutical investment patterns have shifted. More interest has been taken in the development of drugs for chronic ailments, leaving funding for antibiotic research scarce.