NIH Research Festival
Antimicrobial resistance‚Äîthe ability of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) to resist drug therapy‚Äîis a complex and serious public health problem. The WHO considers AMR to be one of the top ten threats to global health and one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. The systemic / holistic approach to AMR focuses on five main components: (1) Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in the developing world, (2) overuse of antibiotics by the food supply industry; (2) overuse of pesticides in agriculture; (3) overprescribing and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by the medical profession; (4) poor hand hygiene in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and (5) low incentives for pharmaceutical companies to invest in development of new antimicrobial drugs. There is also growing evidence that the environment plays a key role in the evolution, transmission and spread of AMR. The triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and waste is propelling AMR. Solutions must be driven by a multi-systems approach: (1) Accelerate WASH infrastructure programs to ensure that all populations have sustainable access to clean water and sanitation; (2) address climate change and environmental degradation, including ending pollution from agriculture, animal and fish production, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and healthcare facilities; (3) phase out mass housing of animals and birds in close-proximity to decrease the need for antimicrobials; (4) increase antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals and healthcare to lower antimicrobial prescribing; (5) Increase financial incentives for innovative research to produce new antimicrobials and bio-degradable antimicrobials; and (6) increase governance and enforcement to deter overuse of antimicrobials.
Scientific Focus Area: Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
This page was last updated on Monday, September 25, 2023