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WHO: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea on the Rise
WHO: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea on the Rise

WHO: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea on the Rise

WHO: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea on the Rise

Data from 77 countries show that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea – a common sexually-transmitted infection – much harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
“The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at the World Health Organization.
The R&D pipeline for gonorrhea is relatively empty, with only three new candidate drugs in various stages of clinical development: solithromycin, for which a phase III trial has recently been completed; zoliflodacin, which has completed a phase II trial; and gepotidacin, which has also completed a phase II trial, according to a report on the WHO website.
The development of new antibiotics is not very attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies. Treatments are taken only for short periods of time (unlike medicines for chronic diseases) and they become less effective as resistance develops, meaning that the supply of new drugs constantly needs to be replenished.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative and WHO have launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a not-for-profit research and development organization, hosted by DNDi, to address this issue.
GARDP’s mission is to develop new antibiotic treatments and promote appropriate use, so that they remain effective for as long as possible, while ensuring access for all in need.
“To address the pressing need for new treatments for gonorrhoea, we urgently need to seize the opportunities we have with existing drugs and candidates in the pipeline. In the short term, we aim to accelerate the development and introduction of at least one of these pipeline drugs, and will evaluate the possible development of combination treatments for public health use,” said Dr Manica Balasegaram, GARDP director.
“Any new treatment developed should be accessible to everyone who needs it, while ensuring it’s used appropriately, so that drug resistance is slowed as much as possible.”
Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. Complications of gonorrhea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV.
Information, education, and communication can promote and enable safer sex practices, improve people’s ability to recognize the symptoms of gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections, and increase the likelihood they will seek care.

 

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