Antibiotics needed to treat multidrug-resistant infections in neonates

Abstract: Infections remain a leading cause of death in neonates. The sparse antibiotic development pipeline and challenges in conducting neonatal research have resulted in few effective antibiotics being adequately studied to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) infections in newborns, despite the increasing global mortality burden caused by antimicrobial resistance. Of 40 antibiotics approved for use in adults since 2000, only four have included dosing information for neonates in their labelling. Currently, 43 adult antibiotic clinical trials are recruiting patients, compared with only six trials recruiting neonates. We review the World Health Organization (WHO) priority pathogens list relevant to neonatal sepsis and propose a WHO multiexpert stakeholder meeting to promote the development of a neonatal priority antibiotic development list. The goal is to develop international, interdisciplinary consensus for an accelerated neonatal antibiotic development programme. This programme would enable focused research on identified priority antibiotics for neonates to reduce the excess morbidity and mortality caused by MDR infections in this vulnerable population.

Authors: Phoebe CM Williams, Shamim A Qazi, Ramesh Agarwal, Sithembiso Velaphi, Julia A Bielicki, Sumathi Nambiar, Carlo Giaquinto, John Bradley, Gary J Noel, Sally Ellis, Seamus O’Brien, Manica Balasegaram & Michael Sharland

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