Thursday, February 10, 2011

WHO update: no antibiotics and new H5N1 death

There is an article in the February 2011 Bulletin of the World Health Organization that outlines the reasons behind the shrinking antibiotic pipeline even in the setting of emerging antimicrobial resistant pathogens.  The range of reasons offered goes from the biological (the low hanging fruit has been picked) to the economic (why invest in meds that will only be taken for 7 days).  The article does offer hope in both cases by describing recent discoveries and offering potential incentive arrangements that could encourage antibiotic development and proper use.

Bulletin of the WHO (February 2011)  html or pdf

Note: World Health Day on April 7th is devoted to raising awareness around the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Although, when you read the description of World Health Day, it only talks about HIV, TB and malaria.  I wonder what it will take for the ID folk to mention a bacteria?

Finally, the WHO has announced a confirmed H5N1 related death in a 5-year old Cambodian girl. This is the first reported mortality due to avain flu since early 2010. The girl had been exposed to sick poultry during the 7-days prior to disease onset. The influenza clock keeps ticking.


  1. This young girl’s death is the first in 2011. In the year 2010, there were 24 avian flu deaths: 1 in Cambodia, 1 in China, 13 in Egypt, 7 in Indonesia, and 2 in Viet Nam.

  2. Thanks Michele for the clarification. It is the first death since early 2010 but there were many more deaths (24) in 2010.