A British government-commissioned review finds that resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year by 2050 and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5%. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance said surgeries that have become widespread and low-risk thanks to antibiotics may become more dangerous without urgent action, according to a Medical Xpress news report. The review was led by Jim O’Neill, British senior public health experts, and the former chief economist at US investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The review found that the region with the highest number of deaths attributable to antimicrobial resistance would be Asia, which had 4.7 million, followed by Africa (4.1 million), Europe (390,000), and the United States (317,000). The review also estimated that cancer, the second-biggest killer, would account for 8.2 million deaths annually by 2050. The report notes, “The damaging effects of antimicrobial resistance are already manifesting themselves across the world. Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone.”

The report indicates that drug resistance is not a distant risk and called for “a major intervention to avert what threatens to be a devastating burden on the world’s healthcare systems.” The review emphasized the economic advantage of investment in tackling the problem early, as indicated on the Medical Xpress news report.

The Medical Xpress news report notes that three types of bacteria, the Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus, were already showing signs of resistance to medicine. In addition, the report listed the treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria were broader public health issues where resistance was also a concern.

Source: Medical Xpress