Almost 400 new medicines for infectious diseases, including viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections and parasitic infections, are now in development with US biopharmaceutical research companies, according to a report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
Infectious diseases were the leading cause of death in the United States until the 1920s. Vaccines and antimicrobials have proven to effectively treat and prevent many diseases and conditions, but infectious diseases and the emerging resistance of pathogens that cause disease still pose a very serious threat to patients, the report says.
The 394 medicines and vaccines in development for infectious diseases, all in human clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), include 226 for viral infections, 124 for bacterial infections, 24 for fungal infections and 15 for parasitic infections. Examples include:
• A medicine for the most common and difficult-to-treat form of hepatitis C that inhibits the enzyme essential for viral replication.
• An anti-malarial drug that has shown activity against Plasmodium falciparum malaria that is resistant to current treatments.
• A potential new antibiotic to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
• A novel treatment that works by blocking the ability of the smallpox virus to spread to other cells, thus preventing it from causing disease.