Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Shrinking investment and a lack of innovation in the development of new antibiotics is "undermining efforts to combat drug-resistant infections," the World Health Organization warned on Friday, citing two of its new reports.

Why it matters: "Without government intervention, the United Nations estimates that resistant infections could kill 10 million people annually by 2050 and prompt an economic slowdown to rival the global financial crisis of 2008," the New York Times reports.

What's happening: It can take up to 10 years and north of $2 billion to develop a new antibiotic and commercialize it, the Times writes. Large pharmaceutical companies aren't producing as many antibiotics, and of those that are being developed, only a handful target the most dangerous drug-resistant infections.

  • Drug company executives, public health experts and patient advocates are insisting that Washington establish new programs and policies to attract the necessary funding to help struggling antibiotic companies and continue to attract drug company giants.
“Never has the threat of antimicrobial resistance been more immediate and the need for solutions more urgent. Numerous initiatives are underway to reduce resistance, but we also need countries and the pharmaceutical industry to step up and contribute with sustainable funding and innovative new medicines.”
WHO's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Between the lines: "Unlike drugs that treat chronic conditions and are taken for years, antibiotics save lives, but are taken for just a week or two, diminishing their profitability for drugmakers," the NYT's Andrew Jacobs writes.

The other side: In WHO's report on possible novel therapies, 252 agents in development were identified to target 12 pathogens declared serious threats to humanity, including E. coli, salmonella and the bacteria that can cause gonorrhea.

Yes, but: Among 50 new antibiotics in clinical trials, only two are active against the most worrisome category of bugs, per the Times.

Go deeper: U.S. pushes global effort to fight antibiotic resistance at UN meeting

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 31,937,244 — Total deaths: 977,624 — Total recoveries: 22,013,874Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m ET: 6,937,145 — Total deaths: 201,959 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus is surging again — Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  4. Media: Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
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Republicans condemn Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers addressed President Trump's refusal on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted, "The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."

2 hours ago - Technology

Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of high-profile journalists have recently announced they are leaving newsrooms to launch their own, independent brands, mostly via email newsletters.

Context: Many of those writers, working with new technology companies like Substack, TinyLetter, Lede, or Ghost, have made the transition amid the pandemic.

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