The specter of a pre-antibiotic era, which would take us back a hundred years, is inexorably stretching over global public health due to antibiotic-resistant super-bacteria. A health emergency that could come back thanks to new antibiotics “.
The spotlight on antibiotic resistance is Matteo Bassetti, President of the Italian Society of Anti-infective Therapy (Sita), Full Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Health Sciences of the University of Genoa, Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases of the San Martino Polyclinic Hospital – Irccs of Genoa and President of the International Symposium “What do we need to know to win the battle against superbugs?” organized in the Ligurian capital by the Menarini International Foundation.
An alarm that comes a few hours after the one launched by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General and Hanan Balkhy, WHO Deputy Director General, according to whom: “It is important to concentrate public and private investments on the development of effective treatments to combat antibiotic resistance “.
“Already today, by using the most innovative drugs in the best possible way and earlier, some already existing and others in the approval phase, mortality from super-bacteria in our country could be reduced by a third, saving 3,000 lives a year – says Bassetti – for example in the case of Klebsiella pneumoniae, one of the most frequent bacteria isolated in infections of the blood, lungs and urinary tract, recent studies have shown that the new antibiotics have drastically reduced mortality, which has dropped from 50-55% to 10-15% . A reduction of about one third which, compared to the 10,000 deaths a year in Italy (ECDC data), is equivalent to 3,000 fewer deaths ”.
Unfortunately, there are only 12 new molecules in the world in the advanced phase of clinical development in antibiotic therapy compared to over 700 in oncology, continues the expert: “To combat multidrug-resistant germs, it is therefore necessary to strengthen research and encourage the use of new antibiotics. , real lifesavers like anticancer, overcoming the paradox of not treating an infection today for fear that it will become more serious or less treatable tomorrow. If pharmaceutical companies no longer invest in research and development of new antibiotics, there is a risk of a return in pre-antibiotic era, with the appearance of bacterial strains on which no antibiotic works anymore – observes Bassetti – it is essential to do research to identify new drugs and enhance innovative antibiotics, which are inserted within adequate therapeutic schemes also allow to protect the efforts and investments made to support the patient’s health with enormous savings in resources. If we do not intervene decisively, involving the institutions and the health system in all its ganglia as well as civil society, such as pharmaceutical companies that discover and produce new antibiotics, the future will be increasingly dark “.
On the other hand, the data speak for themselves: a recent scenario elaborated by the WHO predicts that by 2050 the first cause of death will be infections from resistant germs with a number of lives lost, 10 million, higher than the deaths that cancer currently causes. In Europe yes .b. 392,000 deaths and 120,000 in Italy, which already today with 10,000 deaths a year is the nation most affected together with Greece. “It is true that Italy holds this sad record over 33,000 total deaths – continues Bassetti – but this happens because our NHS leaves no one behind. We try to cure everyone, even the most fragile patients who inevitably face these problems ”.