Too Few New Antibiotics in Development: WHO

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The development of new antibiotics is lagging behind the increasing danger posed by treatment-resistant infections, the World Health Organization says.

As of May, 51 antibiotics and 11 biologicals that could be used in place of antibiotics were being developed, according to a WHO report published Tuesday, CNN reported.

While this may appear to be a large number of potential new drugs, it isn't enough, according to the WHO.

The document is a "fantastic (and very useful!) summary" of the antibiotic situation, Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an email, CNN reported.

He has also published studies of antibiotic resistance, but was not involved in the WHO's report.

"More resistant infections don't just mean you or someone you care about is more likely to die from one, they also mean healthcare will get even more expensive," Hanage said. "Many of the procedures we take for granted in medicine, from cancer treatments to surgeries, depend on our ability to handle infections that happen in the course of treatment."

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