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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 76-77

World health organization releases global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication18-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kanchipuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_25_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World health organization releases global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics. J Med Soc 2018;32:76-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World health organization releases global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics. J Med Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Dec 5];32:76-7. Available from:


Antibiotic resistance has been recognized as one of the major fears to the global health and allied sectors, as it can affect anybody regardless of their age or geographical location.[1] Even though it is a natural phenomenon, misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has significantly expedited the process.[1] In fact, antibiotic resistance has led to adverse consequences such as prolonged hospitalization, increased medical expenses, overburdened public health system, and even increased mortality rates.[1],[2]

As the problem of antibiotic resistance is evergrowing, and if no active interventions are taken, very soon, we will be out of treatment options to control the infections.[2] Keeping the magnitude of the problem in mind and realizing the bitter fact that if everything is left to market dynamics, novel antibiotics, which we promptly require, cannot be developed in time, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a list of antibiotic-resistant priority pathogens.[2] This list consists of 12 groups of bacteria, which are ranked under three categories, namely, critical, high, and medium priority.[2]

The critical group consists of bacteria which pose threat in health-care establishments where patients require venous/arterial catheter or a ventilator for providing adequate care, and thus make them extremely susceptible to bloodstream infections or life-threatening pneumonia.[2],[3] Furthermore, bacteria categorized under the high and medium priorities are some of the other infectious agents responsible for causing common infections.[3] The standards for the selection of pathogens were on the basis of the urgency of the need of the antibiotics, the extent of the threat posed to human health (depending on the fatal nature of infections, duration of hospitalization for treatment, rates of acquiring resistance to the existing antibiotics, and speed of transmission between animals or from animals to humans or from person to person), the preventable nature of the infection, availability of treatment options, and whether new antibiotics to treat the infections are already in the research and development (R and D) pipeline.[2],[3]

Moreover, the list is actually a new tool to motivate policymakers to invest in the basic science and R and D activities for the discovery of new antibiotics.[2],[3] Further, it is extremely important to realize that, though R and D activities are vital, it cannot solve the crisis on its own.[1],[4] The need of the hour is to promote the rational use of antibiotics in humans and animals, and steps should be taken at all levels to minimize the impact and spread of resistance.[1],[4]

To conclude, effective antibiotics are needed for health systems, and so collaborative actions are required in today's date for a better tomorrow. The list developed by the WHO is a marker to promote R and D activities, to respond or be better prepared to deal with the global public health concern of antibiotic resistance.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Antibiotic Resistance – Fact Sheet; 2016. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 08].  Back to cited text no. 1
World Health Organization. WHO Publishes List of Bacteria for Which New Antibiotics are Urgently Needed; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 08].  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Global Priority List of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to Guide Research, Discovery, and Development of New Antibiotics. Geneva: WHO Press; 2017. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Much more is expected from nations to counter antimicrobial resistance: World Health Organization. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:718-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
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