A list of 12 drug-resistant bacteria has been released by the World Health Organization (WHO), with Acinetobactor baumannii at the top. Researchers and WHO experts in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tubingen, Germany created the list of resistant bacteria by using pre-existing catalogues as well as excluded microbes that can be treated effectively with other resources, such as vaccinations or proper sanitation. However, due to antibiotics being used repeatedly for decades as well as genetic changes, resistance is inevitable and cannot be completely avoided. Also, germs such as Salmonella and Campylobacter have an increased risk of developing resistance due to the use of antibiotics in food and animals.

As of now, antibiotic resistance kills 700,000 individuals a year and is estimated to increase to about 10 million a year by 2050. Other ways for resistance is with the over use of antibiotics as well as with the spread of resistant strains of bacteria from individual to individual and non-human sources throughout the environment. Since, bacteria can travel through water, air, airplanes, and even to different bacterial species, there is an increased possibility for resistance. Also, antibiotic resistance spreads when new generations of bacteria inherit antibiotic resistance as well as when bacteria transfers sections of genetic material with other bacteria. However, bacteria can lose their resistance to antibiotics. Losing resistance is an extremely slow process and only occurs when the “selective process” is removed, which then allows the bacterial population to react to antibiotics. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is very important and there needs to be fast solutions to this problem. Financial initiatives, such as the US 21st Century Cures Act and CARB-X are two ways for gaining approval for antibiotics and encouraging preclinical development of new antibiotics.

Images courtesy of CDC