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29 Apr, 2017 15:33

Russia developing alternative to antibiotics to fight resistant superbugs – health minister to RT

Russia developing alternative to antibiotics to fight resistant superbugs – health minister to RT

Russia is currently developing new drugs that may provide an alternative to classic antibiotics, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova told RT, while acknowledging that illnesses resistant to antimicrobial and antibiotic drugs are becoming a major problem.

“The issue of antimicrobial resistance is really on the rise... It is very important for the whole world, and for Russia as well. Antimicrobial resistance has been evolving in recent decades. This has led to the fact that many of the familiar antibiotic drugs no longer work,” Skvortsova said.

According to the health minister, antimicrobial resistance has developed because some products, including meat, contain antibiotics. Additionally, in Russia, people used to use antibiotics for “self-treatment,” even when they didn’t need them.

“People bought them [antibiotics] and took them [without prescription]. As a result, the body and the microorganisms adapted to these antibiotics.”

Skvortsova said that Russia is currently developing a strategy for battling antimicrobial resistance, taking “leading positions in the world in this field.”

READ MORE: Russia might lift entry ban on HIV-infected foreigners – health minister

“Our leading research laboratories are developing a new class of drugs that is an alternative to classic antibiotics,” she told RT.

Such drugs work differently from antibiotics, so patients won’t develop antimicrobial resistance, the health minister noted.

The new drugs returned “very good data” in pre-clinical trials, Skvortsova said, adding “if it is confirmed in clinical trials, then we will be the first country in the world to apply a radically new approach in fighting antimicrobial resistance.”

READ MORE: WHO urges quick development of antibiotics to combat superbugs, warns options are running out

Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms are often referred to as superbugs. According to WHO, antimicrobial resistance “threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.”

Such resistance is developed when the microorganisms “change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs.”