Antimicrobial resistance projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050

Antimicrobial resistance projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050
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(NaturalHealth365) According to the CDC, 23,000 people die in the United States every year from drug resistant infections — while cancer kills over half a million. Unbelievable as it may seem, this already-staggering loss of life from antimicrobial resistance will begin to seem like “small potatoes” over the next 30 years – unless drastic action is taken.

According to British chancellor George Osborne, antimicrobial resistance is on target to emerge by the year 2050 as the world’s number one killer – surpassing even cancer to claim a horrifying 10 million lives yearly around the globe.

Antimicrobial resistance could impose a crippling financial burden on the world’s economy

Osborne made his grim prediction April 14 at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington, DC.  In his statement to the IMF, Osborne drew heavily from the results of the UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, which was commissioned by the British Prime Minister in 2014 and helmed by renowned macroeconomist Lord Jim O’Neill.

Completed in the summer of 2016, the Review bluntly stated the dire consequences of unchecked antimicrobial resistance, which will occur unless new and effective antibiotics are developed.

In addition to taking a massive toll on human lives, it is estimated that antimicrobial resistance will cost 3.5 percent of the global GDP – which translates to a $100 trillion dollar price tag.

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Can you imagine a minor scrape becoming a death sentence?

Due to rampant overuse of antibiotics – and a lack of reliance on natural, non-toxic methods of disease prevention and control – it could be said that all the “chickens are coming home to roost.”

The devastating results of widespread global antimicrobial resistance have been highlighted by Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer. Davies predicts an “apocalyptic scenario” looming within the next 20 years – one in which people could begin dying of routine infections due to a shortage of effective antibiotics.

And Davies and Osborne are not alone in sounding the alarm.  Other medical experts have warned of a return to the “Dark Ages” of medicine if antimicrobial resistance continues to spread.  Not only would minor infections become life-threatening, they warn, but many important medical procedures – including hip replacements, C-sections, stomach surgery and chemotherapy – might have to be forgone due to risk of infection.

Old health enemies are making a comeback

Antimicrobial resistant infections, even when not fatal, take longer and cost more money to cure. And diseases formerly believed to have been conquered are making a comeback.

There are currently untreatable strains of gonorrhea in several countries, including a highly drug-resistant type in the north of England. And there is now significant pretreatment resistance to the antiretroviral therapy used to treat HIV – as high as 22 percent in some areas.

In addition, drug-resistant tuberculosis is emerging in over 100 countries.

Resistance is outpacing scientific discovery

Microbes can mutate over time in order to develop resistance to drugs in several different ways.  For instance, pathogens can mutate in such a way as to make it impossible for an antibiotic to enter a bacterial cell at all. They can also mutate to prevent target molecules from binding to the antibiotic, or mutate towards enhanced efficiency of efflux mechanisms – allowing them to simply pump a drug back out again.

Although microbes have always had the ability to do this, the consequences of antimicrobial resistance are becoming increasingly dangerous because new antibiotics are not being developed to combat the problem.  In the past decade, the use of antibiotics has grown by 36 percent – while no new classes of drugs have been discovered since the 1980s.

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Will throwing money at the problem work?

Saying that the current models for reimbursement for antibiotics and diagnostics are “broken,” Osborne joins the authors of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance in calling for “market entry rewards” to bolster the search for new and effective antibiotics – in other words, paying vast incentives to pharmaceutical companies that succeed in bringing a new antibiotic to market.

The truth is that drug companies currently make more money focusing on medications for long-term conditions – such as diabetes and heart disease, rather than antibiotics, which are rarely used for more than a few days or weeks. Osborne hopes that big pharma will “follow the money” with new and innovative drugs to counter resistance – and only time will tell if this approach will succeed.

The Review also called for better low-cost rapid diagnostic tests to combat unnecessary antibiotic use. Better tests would make diagnosis more precise and avoid the necessity of doctors relying on “empirical data” – another term for “educated guesswork.”

Agricultural use in farm animals is a major contributor to the problem

Doctors in the UK are being advised to test patients rigorously to see if antibiotics will be an effective measure, and the British health regulator, NICE, has even talked of sanctioning doctors who are overprescribing antibiotics – a step in the right direction.

Yet the problem of agricultural use of antibiotics threatens any gains that might be made in human medicine.

Kerry McCarthy, the shadow secretary of state for the environment in the UK, notes that although the government has set targets for human use of antibiotics, it hasn’t addressed the problem of antibiotic use in farm animals – which accounts for 45 percent of the total use in the UK. (In the United States, agricultural antibiotic use accounts for a whopping 70 percent).

In other words, livestock can still be heavily dosed.

But there is beginning to be a “pushback,” in both the UK and the US. Investors in restaurant chains in the UK – including Aviva Investors, Strathclyde Pension Fund and Coller Capital – have already called for meat and poultry suppliers to cut back on the use of antibiotics.

And even McDonald’s has jumped on the bandwagon, recently announcing that the chain will start offering poultry and beef raised “free of antibiotics.” When fast food giants voluntarily agree to a healthy protocol, you know the situation is serious.

But is it being taken seriously enough? Hopefully, Osborne’s stark warning will be heard. Antimicrobial resistance can’t be allowed to spread unchecked – the world simply can’t afford the consequences.

Register today for the Immune Defense Summit and neutralize the threat of superbugs, viruses and chronic disease – naturally.



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