Superbugs Could 'Kill Every Three Seconds' Thanks to Antimicrobial Resistance

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

A global report says that superbugs will kill people every three seconds by 2050, unless medics change their approach to antibiotics and public awareness about resistance improves.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance paints an extremely grim picture of the future, in which superbugs could prove a bigger threat to humans than cancer and basic medical procedures and minor injuries could become deadly.

Doctors have been accused of handing out antibiotics “like sweets”, with over-prescription leading to increased resistance. Lord Jim O'Neill led the review, which was commissioned in 2014, and has published a global action plan to help us tackle the threat. It goes a little something like this:

  • Reduce the unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs in healthcare
  • Improve global awareness of resistance
  • Pay companies $1 billion (£0.7 billion) for each new antibiotic discovered
  • Set up a $2 billion (£1.4 billion) Global Innovation Fund for research
  • Reduce the unnecessarily heavy use of antibiotics in farming
  • Improve surveillance of the spread of drug resistance
  • Promote the use of vaccines and alternatives to drugs

“My review not only makes it clear how big a threat AMR is to the world, with a potential 10 million people dying each year by 2050, but also now sets out a workable blueprint for bold, global action to tackle this challenge,” said Lord O’Neill, adding, “If we don't solve the problem we are heading to the dark ages, we will have a lot of people dying.”

Screw it, burger and chips and a side of germs for lunch. [BBC]