Feb. 27, 2017 -- A list of 12 drug-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to people was released Monday by the World Health Organization.
The U.N health agency said doctors are running out of treatment options for these bacteria and the list is meant to encourage the development of new medicines to fight them, the Associated Press reported.
If left to market forces alone, "the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time," WHO's Marie-Paule Kieny said.
She estimated it would take up to a decade for new medications, the AP reported.
New drugs are most urgently needed for bacteria that pose threats in hospitals and nursing homes and to patients who need ventilators or catheters, WHO said. The dozen bacteria on the list most often strike people with weakened immune systems.
Each year in the U.S., at least 23,000 people die from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.