UAB expert calls for new antibiotics

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – A renowned physician at UAB says the world is in need of new antibiotics.

Dr. Richard Whitley is the President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a researcher at UAB. Whitley says that now is the time to support a global commitment to develop 10 new antibiotics by the year 2020. Fueled by a desire to halt the death and suffering caused around the world by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Whitley believes the new drugs will replace current antibiotics that are in danger of becoming ineffective.

The new campaign is called the 10 x '20 initiative. Dr. Whitley appeals for support for the campaign in the CDC's Safe Healthcare blog in an April 20th post. In the blog, Whitley calls the antibiotic-resistant bacteria one of the greatest threats to human health.

"There are few antibiotics in the pipeline that would offer benefits over existing drugs," Whitley writes in his post. "The existing drugs we do have are in danger of becoming ineffective as bacteria increasingly develop resistance, threatening to leave us without the tools we need to effectively treat patients."

Whitley adds that to create the innovation needed to create the new antibiotics, leaders will need to offer the right incentives to the pharmaceutical market.