02/13/2012 - Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, is increasingly showing resistance to one of the last known effective antibiotic treatments, leading researchers from the Centers for Disease Control to "sound the alarm" about potentially untreatable forms of the disease.
"During the past three years, the wily gonococcus has become less susceptible to our last line of antimicrobial defense, threatening our ability to cure gonorrhea," Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's sexually transmitted disease prevention program, wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine last week.
Not much help is on the way, according to both Mayes and Nicole Mahoney, senior officer of the antibiotics and innovation project at PEW Charitable Trusts.
"As far as gonorrhea goes, I'm not aware of any new drugs in the pipeline," says Mahoney. "This is just one more example of a bigger problem—bacteria are developing resistance faster than we're inventing new medicines to fight them."
Mahoney says Congress and the Food and Drug Administration should encourage and reward pharmaceutical companies to devise new antibiotics. According to a PEW report, only two new classes of antibiotics have been introduced since 1968 because antibiotics are difficult to produce and are less profitable than other drugs.
Read the full article, CDC Warns Untreatable Gonorrhea is On the Way, on the US News & World Report Web site.