Superbugs to kill 10 million a year by 2050, MPs warn


Superbugs will kill 10 million people a year by 2050 – more than cancer and diabetes combined – unless urgent action is taken, MPs have warned.

They said the growing rise of viruses, parasites and bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics posed "a grave to health".

If ministers do not step in, then "modern medicine will be lost", they added.

The warning comes from a report by the Commons' health and social care select committee, which scrutinises the government's work in those areas.

Image: Modern medicine will be lost if superbugs are not tackled, MPs warn

Britain is already seeing a rise of antibiotic resistant illnesses, which kill around 5,000 people a year in the UK.

Experts now say the death toll could reach 10 million a year globally in the next 30 years.

The rise was blamed on drug companies not having enough financial incentive to discover new classes of antibiotics, creating a "worrying exodus" of research over decades.

MPs suggested cutting "inappropriate" prescriptions, changing patent law and how pharmaceutical firms are paid back for new antibiotics to improve conditions.

Fears were also raised over food standards after Brexit, given antibiotics used in farming are an "important contributor" to their resistance.

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Image: MPs said meat and dairy imports must have the same antibiotics standards as Brussels

MPs demanded that any trade deals struck after Britain leaves the EU must ensure imported meat dairy produce meets the same standards for antibiotics as the EU's.

Despite the pressure on ministers, the committee recognised superbugs require "coordinated international action".

Dame Sally Davies, the UK's chief medical officer, warned in evidence to the committee how patients would feel the effects of more immune infections.

Women giving birth and cancer patients would be among those affected, she said.

"Meanwhile, all transplants will be out of the window because they are all prone to infection, and many people have to stay on long-term antibiotics," Dame Sally added.

"There will be a lot of suffering and modern medicine will be lost."

In May, the government pledged £30m to fight the global scourge of resistant antibiotics.

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Then health secretary Jeremy Hunt warned at the time that it was "no longer a threat of the future – it is a problem here and now".

He said the government's funding "had the potential to develop real solutions and save lives".

Original Article


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