Pharmaceutical companies could be doing much more to tackle the threat of superbugs, according to former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill, who led a UK review of antimicrobial resistance published two years ago. An estimated 700,000 people around the global die each year from drug-resistant strains of common diseases, and the figure could rise to 10-million by 2050 if the problem is not tackled head-on, according to the review. One-third of those deaths would be due to tuberculosis (TB). There is limited data on SA, but the studies conducted to date have found very high rates of antibiotic resistance. About two-thirds of tertiary hospital patients with Klebsiella pneumoniae bloodstream infections are resistant to first-line antibiotics, and about a third of hospital patients with bloodstream Escherichia coli have drug-resistant strains, University of Cape Town infectious disease specialist Marc Mendelson told Business Day in January. SA also has a high burden of drug-resist...

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