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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

Democrat Mark Kelly sworn in to U.S. Senate

Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Astronaut Mark Kelly (D) was sworn in to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday after defeating incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) last month for the seat once held by the late Sen. John McCain.

Why it matters: Kelly's swearing-in by Vice President Mike Pence narrows the Republican majority and moves the Senate balance to 52-48.

Senate Armed Services chair dismisses Trump threat to veto defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday that he plans to move ahead with a crucial defense-spending bill without provisions that would eliminate tech industry protections, defying a veto threat from President Trump.

Why it matters: Inhofe's public rebuke signals that the Senate could have enough Republican backing to override a potential veto from Trump, who has demanded that the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Scoop: Uber in talks to sell air taxi business to Joby

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber is in advanced talks to sell its Uber Elevate unit to Joby Aviation, Axios has learned from multiple sources. A deal could be announced later this month.

Between the lines: Uber Elevate was formed to develop a network of self-driving air taxis, but to date has been most notable for its annual conference devoted to the nascent industry.