A $1 billion fund backed by over 20 drugmakers made its first set of investments on April 4 in two biotechnology startups, nearly two years after it was launched to help struggling antibiotic makers tackle the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

To alleviate the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, several biotechnology companies are developing different strategies to target and kill these microorganisms.

None of the 43 antibiotics in development as well as recently approved medicines are enough to combat the increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, the World Health Organization cautioned on April 15.

A majority of Covid-19 patients that were admitted to U.S. hospitals during the first few months of the pandemic were prescribed antibiotics even before a bacterial infection had been confirmed, a study showed on March 10.

The new anti-tuberculosis drug combination of bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid cures 90 percent of people with deadly drug-resistant TB if given for six months, researchers report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Leading scientists, public policy experts and biotech industry leaders joined forces to launch “Working to Fight AMR,” a coalition working to raise public awareness of the growing threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.

The pharmaceutical industry should match its words with action on researching new antibiotics to address the threat posed by drug-resistant superbugs, a former UK government adviser said.

The spread of superbugs resistant to antimicrobial drugs shows no sign of slowing in Europe, health officials said, making food poisoning and other infections more difficult to treat.

RedHill Biopharma’s combination antibiotic Talicia met the main goal of a late-stage study testing the drug in patients with a type of bacterial infection that affects the stomach and small intestine.

Superbug infections resistant to multiple antibiotics kill around 33,000 people a year in Europe according to health experts, and the burden of these diseases is comparable to that of flu, tuberculosis and HIV combined.