Drug-resistant bacteria: WHO publishes new, updated list – Consonews

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released an updated version of its Priority Pathogens List for 2024, highlighting 15 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria classified into three priority categories: critical, high and medium. This update aims to guide the development of new treatments needed to counter the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to drug treatments, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. This phenomenon is largely due to the excessive and misuse of antimicrobials. The updated WHO list incorporates new data and expert advice to guide research and development of new antibiotics and promote international coordination on innovation.

Dr Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Acting Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistance, highlights the importance of this list in guiding investments and responding to the crisis in antibiotic development and access. Since this list was first published in 2017, the threat of AMR has intensified, reducing the effectiveness of many antibiotics and undermining advances in modern medicine.

Critical pathogens, such as late-line antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria and rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, pose a major global threat due to their high disease burden and ability to resist treatment. Gram-negative bacteria, in particular, can transmit their resistance to other bacteria.

High-priority pathogens, such as Salmonella and Shigella, represent a particularly heavy burden in low- and middle-income countries. Other bacteria such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Enterococcus faecium pose particular risks due to their resistance to several antibiotics.

Medium priority pathogens include Group A and B streptococci, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, which require increased attention, especially in vulnerable populations.

Dr Jérôme Salomon, WHO Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, said AMR undermines the ability to effectively treat infections, leading to severe disease and increased rates. mortality.

The 2024 list emphasizes a comprehensive public health approach to combating AMR, including universal access to quality and affordable measures for the prevention, diagnosis and appropriate treatment of infections.

Since 2017, five pathogen-antibiotic combinations have been removed and four new ones added in the 2024 list. For example, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection was reclassified from “critical” to “high” due to the decline of global resistance, although investment in R&D remains crucial.

The 2024 list includes:

Critical Priority :
– Acinetobacter baumannii, resistance to carbapenems
– Enterobacterales, resistance to third generation cephalosporins
– Enterobacterales, resistance to carbapenems
– Mycobacterium tuberculosis, resistance to rifampicin

High priority :
– Salmonella Typhi, resistance to fluoroquinolones
– Shigella spp., resistance to fluoroquinolones
– Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin resistance
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa, resistance to carbapenems
– Non-typhoidal Salmonella, resistance to fluoroquinolones
– Neisseria gonorrhoeae, resistance to cephalosporins and/or third generation fluoroquinolones
– Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin resistance

Medium priority:
– Group A streptococci, macrolide resistance
– Streptococcus pneumoniae, macrolide resistance
– Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin resistance
– Group B streptococci, penicillin resistance

Changes since 2017 reflect the dynamic nature of AMR, requiring tailored interventions. Adapting this list to national and regional contexts can better address regional variations in pathogen distribution and AMR burden.

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