In the United States, Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria are a leading cause of meningitis and sepsis in a newborn’s first three months of life. The bacteria may be passed from pregnant women to their babies during delivery, because about one in every four pregnant women carry GBS bacteria in their body.
The farthest-along candidates are a viral vector vaccine being tested by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, a repurposed vaccine, originally developed in the early 1900s for protection against tuberculosis, and a whole-virus vaccine being tested by the state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm.
Laboratories around the world have paused regular work to pursue treatment for COVID-19. While there are still no evidence-based treatments available, scientists are evaluating a variety of options beyond supportive care.
Given the dependence of modern medicine on antimicrobial drugs, and the inevitability of evolution, why is bringing a new antibiotic to market so difficult, and why are so many companies leaving the industry or going bankrupt?