Superbugs to trigger next Global Financial Crisis

By: The OUTBREAK Project
March 31, 2020 - PRLog -- As Australia grapples with the economic fallout of COVID-19, an even bigger financial disaster is on the horizon, with drug-resistant bacteria set to cost the nation up to $283 billion by 2050.

Infectious diseases professor Steven Djordjevic, from the University of Technology Sydney, said the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs, was a grave threat to Australia's economy and way of life.

"The cost of uncontrolled infections caused by superbugs will be astronomical if we don't act now," Prof. Djordjevic said. "By 2050, Australia's annual GDP will take a five to ten per cent hit because of drug-resistant bugs.

"Already, our hospitals spend more than $11 million a year[ii] treating just two of the World Health Organisation's most threatening drug-resistant infections[iii].

"Without effective antibiotics, thousands more people will die from simple infections and people will be sicker for longer, slashing the size of the workforce and productivity."

Prof. Djordjevic is chief scientist for OUTBREAK, a world-first hi-tech project to create a national system that will track and predict superbug hot spots across Australia.

"This is not a new problem but it is rapidly getting worse and, frighteningly, we do not know the full impact or reach of drug-resistant bacteria in Australia," he said.

"We need to find out how the superbugs are spreading through humans, animals and the environment. That's where OUTBREAK comes in."

"It will analyse an immense amount of human, animal and environmental data to create a nationwide system able to predict antibiotic-resistant infections in real-time. Then we can run different scenarios to work out the most effective way to contain or prevent outbreaks."

The planning stage of OUTBREAK is well advanced, with a group of 14 leading university, government and industry partners coming together to create a multidisciplinary team of experts to tackle drug-resistant infections.

The implementation stage now requires a five-year, $100 million investment from the federal government's Medical Research Future Fund.

OUTBREAK chief executive officer Branwen Morgan said the work needed to start now.

"COVID-19 is a very powerful example of how one virus can bring industries to their knees but superbugs pose an even bigger economic threat," Associate Professor Morgan said.

"Long-term funding for the OUTBREAK project will transform the sustainability of Australia's health and hospital systems."

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*Please contact us for references and economic calculation.

Michelle Hele
Source:The OUTBREAK Project
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