Drug companies told to do more to tackle ‘superbug’ crisis
admin • January 24, 2018 • 3995
A lot more work needs to be done to ensure appropriate use of medicines
The World Health Organization (WHO) and experts consider antibiotic resistance “a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine.
“We all know that the problem of superbugs, antimicrobial resistance, is high on the international agenda,” said Access to Medicine Foundation’s Executive Director Dr. Jayasree Iyer.
Growing numbers of people are dying from “flesh-eating” microbes; from infections picked up in hospital and nursing homes; and from strains of pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and other diseases that are impervious to most drugs.
“Gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, E. Coli, salmonella, the plague, all diseases that are becoming untreatable. So companies are putting their R&D efforts in the right direction,” said Iyer.
Having new antibiotics in development was important, but so measures to encourage prudent use of existing drugs. Companies were also rated for clean manufacturing — particularly whether they discharged antibiotic-laden wastewater into rivers or lakes.
GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson are the best of the big pharmaceutical companies in tackling the growing “superbug” threat, according to an index released Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Overall, GSK led the field with 55 antimicrobial pipeline projects, including 13 vaccines.
But action taken by such companies is only the start of what could be done to address the problem, which former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill in 2014 estimated could cause 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050.
A lot more work needs to be done to ensure appropriate use of medicines — both new ones and the thousands of tonnes of older pills churned out each year by generic companies.
“We need more industry members, more pharmaceutical companies, to develop new antibiotics, new medicines, new vaccines to replace the ones who no longer work and find new responsible ways to produce them and get them to the patient,” said the executive director. — Reuters
Much as we enjoy being a couch potato, our bodies need the right amount of exercise to stay healthy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults ages 18–64, to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity a week.
Studies have shown that physically adults have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.
Other benefits include:
less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture;
exhibit a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; and
more likely to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.
The WHO said the recommendation is applicable to all healthy adults. However, there will be adjustments depending on the exercise capacity of an individual and the specific health risks or limitations.
“There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week,” according to their statement.—AAC
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, hailing the development as a “historic achievement for humanity.”
The WHO made the announcement on World Polio day on Oct. 24.
There are three strains of wild poliovirus. All three types can cause irreversible paralysis or even death but the WHO said these three have genetic and virologic differences that must be eradicated individually.
The WPV3 is the second poliovoirus strain to be wiped out following the eradication of wild poliovirus 2 in 2015. The last confirmed case of WPV3 was reported in northern Nigeria in 2012, according to the WHO.
An independent panel of experts concluded that WPV3 strain has been eradicated after meeting the required criteria for verification.
“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board said in a statement.
“We remain fully committed to ensuring that all necessary resources are made available to eradicate all poliovirus strains. We urge all our other stakeholders and partners to also stay the course until final success is achieved,” he added.
According to Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, the type 1 of wild poliovirus still continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We cannot stop our efforts now: we must eradicate all remaining strains of all polioviruses,” Salisbury said in a statement.
Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal.
Health authorities said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.
The WHO said eradicating WPV3 proves that a polio-free world is achievable. Key to success will be the ongoing commitment of the international development community.
“To this effect, as part of a Global Health Week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in November 2019, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum will focus international attention on eradication of the world’s deadliest diseases,” the WHO said.
The agency believes the event will provide an opportunity for world leaders and civil society organizations to contribute to the last mile of polio eradication.
The WHO said they aim to increase awareness on the significance of suicide as a global public health problem and what else can be done to prevent suicide.
The organization has provided steps and ways on how everyone can participate in the 40 seconds of action.
Some of the ideas provided by the WHO include:
If you are struggling, take 40 seconds to kickstart a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling.
If you work in media, highlight the 40-second statistic in interviews, articles, and blog posts.
If you are an employer or manager, take 40 seconds to formulate a positive message of support to your employees about resources available to them in the workplace or local community in times of mental distress.
“Everyone can take part in whichever way makes the most sense. Your activity may be private, for example, initiating a conversation with someone you are worried about or sharing a message of hope with someone who is struggling; or it may be public, for example posting a video message for local or national authorities about action you would like them to take on this issue,” the WHO said.—AAC
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