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WHO releases list of drug-resistant pathogens called ‘Superbugs’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its first ever list of drug-resistant pathogens called ‘Superbugs’. These superbugs pose a serious challenge for humankind, as these pathogens have developed immunity to most of the available antibiotics. The list of superbugs published by WHO classifies superbugs into 3 categories, based on the urgency to create new types of antibiotics. WHO hopes that the list will act as a guide and promote research for the development of new antibiotics that can effectively eliminate these superbugs.

The 12 superbugs listed by WHO are among the ones that have been identified as a threat to the people of the United States by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has been noted that these pathogens can have catastrophic consequence, if newer drugs are not developed soon. “This list is not meant to scare people about new superbugs,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at WHO. “It’s intended to signal research and development priorities to address urgent public health threats.”

The 12 superbugs listed by WHO are:

Priority 1: Critical

  1. Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
  2. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
  3. Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing

Priority 2: High

  1. Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
  2. Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
  3. Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
  4. Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
  5. Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
  6. Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant

Priority 3: Medium

  1. Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
  2. Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
  3. Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant

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