To Push or To Pull? In a Post-COVID World, Supporting and Incentivizing Antimicrobial Drug Development Must Become a Governmental Priority
The COVID-19 pandemic has refocused attention worldwide on the dangers of infectious diseases, in terms of both global health and the effects on the world economy. Even in high income countries, health systems have been found wanting in dealing with the new infectious agent. However, the even greater long-term danger of antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic bacteria and fungi is still under-appreciated, especially among the general public. Although antimicrobial drug development faces significant scientific challenges, the gravest challenge at the moment appears to be economic, where the lack of a viable market has led to a collapse in drug development pipelines. There is therefore a critical need for governments across the world to further incentivize the development of antimicrobials. Most incentive strategies over the past decade have focused on so-called “push” incentives that bridge the costs of antimicrobial research and development, but these have been insufficient for reviving the pipeline.
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