>> It was once home to dozens of sanatoriums where tuberculosis patients hoped the mountain air would cure them. And out of Davos on Tuesday came a grave warning. Not enough is being done to fight antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria like TB. That's according to a report released at the World Economic Forum by the not-for-profit Access to Medicine Foundation, as Reuters' Ben Hirschler explains.
>> This is the first time that anyone has done an independent assessment of what individual drug companies are doing to counter the threat, and the picture is that it is pretty patchy. Some companies are putting more money into R&D and there are some of them spending extra time and resources to make sure that the antibiotics are used responsibly, but it's still an inadequate response.
>> Ever since the invention of penicillin, bacteria have been evolving to fight the drugs developed to treat them. And the threat posed by super bugs has been worse in recent years by the overuse of antibiotics and cutbacks in drug research.>> We need more industry members. More pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics, new medicines, new vaccines to replace the ones that no longer work, and find new, responsible ways to produce them, and get them to the patient.
>> There are currently 28 experimental antibiotics against critical pathogens in late stage development. But only two of these are supported by plans to ensure they can be both made accessible, and used wisely if they reach the market.>> The problem has been that there's not very much incentive for a drug company to come up with a new antibiotic.
It's a lot less profitable than a statin that you take every day or a multi-cancer drug which carries a very high price tag.>> Because of that, the call from Davos is for much more to be done. And that's because some of the predictions around super bugs are terrifying.
A 2014 review, commissioned by the British government, concluded that unless action is taken, antibiotic resistance could kill an annual 10 million people worldwide by 2050.