Gröhe: “Urgent need for antibiotics that work against communicable diseases“

WHO publishes global list of drug-resistant ‘priority pathogens‘

Responding to an initiative from the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) published on 27 February 2017 the first ever list of resistant bacteria that currently pose the greatest threat to human health. The list is meant to guide research, discovery and the development of new antibiotics – one objective of WHO’s Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

We need effective antibiotics now and in the future to be able to treat communicable diseases with good patient outcomes. With our German Antibiotic Resistance Strategy, we spearhead the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Internationally, we have also put this issue on the agenda of the meeting of the 20 leading industrialised and emerging economies and support the implementation of WHO’s Global Action Plan. This is because diseases and resistant pathogens know no borders – they must be controlled on a global scale. Today’s list of priority pathogens is a major basis for concerted action against international health threats.

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe

Concurring with Germany’s proposal, the G7 Health Ministers endorsed, in their 2015 Declaration, the continuous identification, assessment, and agreement of pathogens that are of greatest concern globally. Following the request from the Federal Ministry of Health, therefore, WHO drew up a global priority pathogens list of resistant bacteria for which new antimicrobials should be urgently developed.

WHO’s priority pathogens list is meant to guide the research and development of new antibiotics going forward and ensure that research is fully in line with public health needs. The list was developed under the leadership of Prof. Evelina Taconelli of Tübingen University and Dr. Nicola Magrini of WHO, together with renowned experts. In methodological terms, the list clearly differs from existing surveys of resistant pathogens in that it was developed using a special technique (multi-criteria decision analysis -MCDA). To reliably rank the pathogens by priority, the experts drew on criteria such as relevant mortality rates, healthcare burden and prevalence of resistance among the population as well as trend developments of resistance.

Fighting antimicrobial resistance has been a major priority of the Federal Ministry of Health. With our German Antibiotic Resistance Strategy (DART), Germany has been pursuing a cross-sectoral approach to controlling AMR for quite a long time now. In recent years, moreover, Germany has championed the fight against AMR in the context of WHO, the EU and the G7 and also made the issue a priority of Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017. Actually, the first ever G20 Health Ministers‘ Meeting will be held on 19 and 20 May 2017.