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The Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance: A Global Health Crisis

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis that poses a significant threat to public health and modern medicine. It is a phenomenon where bacteria and other microorganisms develop the ability to resist the effects of antibiotics, rendering these drugs ineffective in treating infections .

Impact on Modern Medicine: Antibiotic resistance jeopardizes the achievements of modern medicine by making medical procedures and treatments more dangerous. For example, organ transplantations, chemotherapy, and surgeries such as caesarean sections become riskier without effective antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections .

Public Health Consequences: The consequences of antibiotic resistance are far-reaching and can affect people at any stage of life, as well as the healthcare, veterinary, and agriculture industries. Even resistance to a single antibiotic can lead to serious problems. Antimicrobial-resistant infections that require the use of second- and third-line treatments can harm patients by causing serious side effects, organ failure, and prolonged care and recovery. In some cases, these infections have no treatment options .

Global Efforts: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the urgency of tackling antibiotic resistance and has developed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance. The plan aims to ensure the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases with safe and effective medicines. It has five strategic objectives:

Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.
Strengthen surveillance and research.
Reduce the incidence of infection.
Optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines.
Ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance .
To address the major gaps in research and development for antimicrobials, vaccines, and diagnostic tools, WHO collaborates with organizations such as the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), the AMR Action Fund, and the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X). Governments are also piloting different models to incentivize research and development of newer antimicrobials .