Britain's top doctor warns of drug-resistant microbes

The United Kingdom's chief medical officer Sally Davies recently advised that the dangers posed by drug-resistant bacteria should be considered as serious as those posed by terrorism and pandemic influenza.

Davies said antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat to the world and that action needs to be taken immediately. She has also released a report on the problem written by some of the United Kingdom's top physicians and academics, according to Nature.

The chief medical officer urged for more resources to be dedicated to research into new medicines and better surveillance of bacteria with growing resistance. She said genomic testing needs to be incorporated into research programs in order to increase what scientists know about the bugs.

Davies also warned that pharmaceutical companies currently lack an adequate incentive to develop new antibiotics, which will harm the health of those in the future who become infected with currently curable illnesses, Nature reports.

"It is very worrying. We have market failure," Sally Davies said, according to Nature. "I worry about my hip replacement in 20 years' time if we don't get this right."

The newly released report estimates there are 5,000 patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who die from Gram-negative sepsis every year. Approximately half of those are infected with a drug-resistant form of the infection.