WHO reports rise of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea
Data from 77 countries show that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea, a common sexually-transmitted infection, much harder to treat. The WHO Global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (WHO GASP), monitors trends in drug-resistant gonorrhoea. WHO GASP data from 2009 to 2014 find widespread resistance to ciprofloxacin, increasing resistance to azithromycin, and the emergence of resistance to the current last-resort treatment: the extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs) oral cefixime or injectable ceftriaxone.
Currently, in most countries, ESCs are the only single antibiotic that remain effective for treating gonorrhoea. But resistance to cefixime, and more rarely to ceftriaxone, has now been reported in more than 50 countries. As a result, WHO issued updated global treatment recommendations in 2016 advising doctors to give 2 antibiotics: ceftriaxone and azithromycin. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and WHO have launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) to address this issue. GARDP’s mission is to develop new antibiotic treatments and promote appropriate use, so that they remain effective for as long as possible, while ensuring access for all in need. One of GARDP’s key priorities is the development of new antibiotic treatments for gonorrhoea.