Unchecked superbugs could kill 10 million a year, cost $100 trillion

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Drug-resistant superbugs could kill an extra 10 million people a year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if their rampant global spread is not halted, according to a British government-commissioned review.

Such infections already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and the trend is growing, the review said, adding: “The importance of effective antimicrobial drugs cannot be overplayed.”

Former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, who led the work, noted that in Europe and the United States alone around 50,000 people currently die each year from infections caused by superbug forms of bacteria such as E.coli.

“Unless something is done by 2050, that number could become 10 million people losing their lives each year from then onwards,” he told a briefing in London.