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article imageDavid Cameron calls for a response to superbugs

By Ryan Hite     Jul 2, 2014 in Health
London - The Prime Minister of the U.K. is leading a fight against what he calls the greatest health threat of our time. David Cameron says these superbugs require more research and development of new antibiotics.
Antibiotic-resistant superbugs threaten to plunge the world back to the "dark ages" of medicine, says David Cameron, who pledged that the country he is the Prime Minister of, the U.K., will lead a new effort to develop drugs that will resist bacterial infections. He says that the superbugs are one of the greatest threats in the world today.
"This is not some distant threat, but something happening right now," Cameron told local media. "If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine, where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again. That simply cannot be allowed to happen and I want to see a stronger, more coherent global response."
The Prime Minister is to announce an new review led by economist Jim O'Neill to identify why new drugs failed to come to the international market. It is expected to focus on the development and regulatory environment around the business of antibiotics.
Cameron, who stated earlier this month that action is needed to accelerate the research and development of new drugs for dementia and oversaw a push to set a global ambition of finding a cure by 2025. He raised the issue last year at the G7 summit.
He said that "When we've had these problems in the past, whether it is how we tackle HIV and Aids, how it is possible to lead the world and get rid of diseases like polio, Britain has taken a lead and I think it is right we take a lead again."
Scientists think that there are about 5,000 deaths a year in the U.K. due to strains of bacteria that have become resistant. There have been warnings that the rise in resistance could have wider repercussions.
The pharmaceutical industry has produced three generations of antibiotics in the past 60 years. The first included penicillins. This group fell by the wayside as bacteria evolved enzymes that broke the drugs apart. The second were synthetic penicillins, as opposed to the natural which were modified in a lab to resist the bugs' enzymes. Viruses gained resistance to these too. The third generation, called carbapenems, have been further modified. In 2003, the first microbes arrived in the UK that are immune to these drugs as well.
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