Cases of antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea are becoming more frequent. The World Health Organization analyzed data from 77 countries and found several cases in which gonorrhea was unaffected by multiple or all of the currently-available drug treatments.
The WHO has identified 3 people from Spain, France and Japan who cannot be cured by any available antibiotic treatment.
“The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Dr. Teodora Wi, a WHO Medical Officer in Human Reproduction.
Approximately 78 million people contract gonorrhea each year. Although there are multiple antibiotics that had once been effective against gonorrhea, the WHO now recommends two that remain relatively strong across the globe.
The simple answer is to develop more drugs to combat the STD. However there are only three drugs in development to fight gonorrhea. The drug closest to being available on markets, zoliflodacin, is in Phase III of clinical trials. Although this phase can take years to complete, the FDA has designated zoliflodacin for Fast Tracking.
Fast Tracking allows developers to expedite the review process for drugs. Because of the lack of effective treatments available for gonorrhea, zoliflodacin is considered a drug that satisfies an unmet need for treatment.
The pace at which the strains become drug-resistant requires a constant influx of new drugs on the market. The FDA and WHO hope the drugs currently in development will soon join the market place to fight off infection.
Photo by Brett_Hondow, CC-BY
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.