World Health Organisation publishes list of bacteria for which new antibiotics are needed

December 13, 2017

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have published a list of pathogens which are likely to pose the greatest risk to human health. This is due to their increasing resistance to antibiotics.

The list includes 12 families of bacteria and will be used to promote research and development (R&D) into new antibiotics. As a result, an attempt will be made to tackle the increasing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

Gram-negative bacteria pose the greatest risk to human health. This type of bacteria have the ability to resist treatment that uses multiple antibiotics. They then also pass on this genetic material that allows other bacteria to also become drug-resistant.

The WHO split the list into three groups. The groups are reflective of the urgency for new antibiotics; critical, high and medium priority. The critical category includes bacteria that are found in hospitals. This includes Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas. These types of bacteria can cause severe and deadly infections. The high/medium categories contain other drug-resistant bacteria, such as Salmonella. This type of bacteria is the cause of diseases such as food poisoning.

Criteria used to create the list

  • How deadly is the infection caused by the bacteria
  • Is treatment of the bacteria likely to require long hospital stays
  • How frequently are the bacteria resistant to antibiotics
  • How easily does the bacteria spread between animals and also people
  • Are new antibiotics to treat the bacteria already in the R&D pipeline
  • How many treatment options remain

The Government will use the list of antibiotic-resistant pathogens to create and implement new policies. Furthermore, these policies will allow research and development into new antibiotics to be promoted.

Therefore, Perfectus Biomed possess the below priority organisms, as listed by the WHO, in our culture collection:

Acinetobacter baumannii NCTC 13301

Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCTC 13437

Enterobacter cloacae NCTC 13464

Enterococcus faecium (VRE) ATCC 700221

Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 13142

Helicobacter pylori NCTC 13207

Campylobacter coli ATCC BAA-371

Salmonella enteritidis NCTC 13349

Neisseria gonorrhoeae NCTC 13480

Streptococcus pneumoniae ATCC BAA-343

Haemophilus influenzae NCTC 12699

Shigella sonnei NCTC 8219*


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