Now We Know The 12 Most Dangerous Bacteria For Human Health. Then What?

WHO believes that new antibiotics must be developed urgently to combat the 12 families of bacteria in the list as they represent a serious risk to current health systems.

World Health Organisation (WHO) published recently the outcome of a project that was carried out jointly with the Division of Infectious Diseases of Tübingen University, Germany (27th of February 2017).

The project was aimed to determine the most dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria that pose human health at threat and to evaluate the danger on the basis of well-established medical and scientific criteria (vetted by international experts). In fact WHO member states signalled the need of a global priority pathogens list to serve R&D in prioritizing the effort of developing new treatments.

The global priority pathogens list came in the context that, in September 2016, a British study showed that resistant bacteria could kill up to 10 million people a year by 2050 … as many as cancer does!

It is the first list officially endorsed by the WHO, for the medical community as well as the R&D have a common ground to better target their efforts in the battle against this huge threat to human health. WHO certainly had in view not only drawing attention once again to the danger but launching a challenge to intensify the R&D efforts in this area.

The fact that bacteria develop resistance against antibiotics is well-known today. Resistance is acquired by means of mutations in genetic material or by transferring genetic material, including the gene coding for antibiotic resistance, from one bacterium to another. Unfortunately bacteria antibiotics adaptation phenomenon looks like a spiral that leads to a point where the human body gets unable to defend itself from pathogens. As bacteria manage to acquire growing resistance to the most powerful antibiotics known today the researchers work gets harder and harder … you can’t launch every year a new generation of antibiotics, more powerful than the previous one but unable to keep a long-term effectiveness, right?

"This list is a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs," says Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation. "Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time."

WHO believes that new antibiotics must be developed urgently to combat the 12 families of bacteria in the list as they represent a serious risk to current health systems.

The “critical” risk comes from three families of bacteria: Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and Enterobacteriaceae (including E. coli) which are resistant to multiple antibiotics, including the most recent ones, therefore representing the cause of most infections in hospitals.

The "high priority" risk comes from six families of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria responsible mainly for stomach ulcers) because of their resistance to several antibiotics. Other three families of bacteria are placed in the category of "medium priority": Pneumococcus, which can lead to pneumonia and meningitis, Haemophilus influenzae, responsible of infections like otitis and Shigella spp. producing intestinal infections such as dysentery (

Nevertheless, there are many voices that argue the soundness of killing super super-bacteria using super-antibiotics solution … since the problem itself is nothing more than the result of this uncontrolled “medication spiral”! A new wave of scientists believe today that different realms of knowledge should be also investigated and brought along with anatomy, biology, chemistry … to create the right research platform and to produce the change of health paradigm that is needed for overcoming such a profound and complex problem.

They believe that healthcare systems must be placed in a different, wider, holistic context being aware that, despite the incredible advances in knowledge and technology, the incidence of new, rare or incurable illnesses is increasing, affecting unprecedently young people … including children and teenagers.

Maybe it is time for medicine, biology, nutritional biology, quantum physics, chemistry, religion, spirituality, ancient amazing healing practices … jointly strive to understand what really is all about ?