Report: Vaccines the key to reducing superbugs

Accreditation Insider, February 16, 2016

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Developing new antibiotics is a notoriously difficult task and the rampant misuse of existing antibiotics have made them ineffective against many types of diseases, known as superbugs. Superbugs have become a global health concern, with people discussing everything from behavioral changes physician’s prescription habits to not giving antibiotics to livestock to stop it.

However, a new solution says we need to stop people from catching diseases in the first place.

A new report by the United Kingdom’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (RAR), says increasing the use and spread of vaccines can make a huge difference in drug-resistance. The RAR, which hosts the industry’s “Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance” on its website, urges governments and drug makers worldwide to increase the distribution of existing vaccines, as well as develop new vaccines for common diseases.

“Vaccines prevent infections and so reduce the need to use antibiotics,” wrote RAR Chairman Lord Jim O’Neill in the report. “This is true for vaccines that prevent bacterial infections, and it is also true for vaccines that prevent viral infections, such as the flu, which should not be treated with antibiotics but often are anyway.”

One report from the World Health Organization found that global immunization coverage of the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines is only 31% and 18%, respectively. O’Neill pointed out that global coverage with the just the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which treats Streptococcus pneumonia, could prevent 800,000 annual deaths of children under five and reduce antibiotic usage.

“Universal coverage by a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine could potentially avert 11.4 million days of antibiotic use per year in children younger than five, roughly a 47% reduction in the amount of antibiotics used for pneumonia cases caused by S. pneumonia,” the report states.

The RAR’s report estimates that antimicrobial resistance could kill 10 million people per year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if not brought under control. The report also expounds on the need to create new vaccines for existing aliments, such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. Collectively those three conditions kill 5 million people annually, all cases where antibiotics might be used because there aren’t any better options.

Click here to read the full RAR vaccine report.

And for a list of the CDC’s updated vaccine schedule, click here.


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