The number of unkillable strains of bacteria is growing, but no one seems all that interested in funding research to stop them. It’s not like the money’s going to booze and pizza – well-funded HIV research is important – but there’s no love at all for hating bacteria.
Dr Eli Perencevich, from the University of Iowa, ran the funding numbers for 2007: grants awarded from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to for HIV and AIDS was $US1.24 billion; for all forms of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, it was just $US180 million. Those figures come to $US69,000 per AIDS death (18,000 total); for MRSA, a particularly virulent and resistant strain that killed 18,650 people in 2007, it was just $US570 per death.
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