The United Nations has warned that antibiotic-resistant microbes, which are already responsible for the deaths of around 700,000 people annually, will eventually become a serious public health threat. By 2050, 10 million people or more may be killed by such microbes every year.
Unfortunately, however, drug companies are not very interested in pursuing the development of new antibiotics. They are not seen as a good investment, because they don’t produce a lot of profit. New antibiotics are often used strictly in cases of pathogens that are impervious to all other antibiotics, and the new ones are saved for those occasions so resistance to these new drugs won’t build as quickly. Novartis is just the latest company to announce that they are closing their antibiotic development programs.