Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism to survive and grow in the presence of antimicrobial drugs. Resistance is generated through gene mutation or by the acquisition of genetic information through horizontal gene transfer. Antimicrobial resistance becomes a problem when antimicrobials used to treat infectious diseases are no longer effective.

Antibacterials, commonly known as antibiotics, act on bacteria. Other antimicrobials include antifungals, antivirals and anti-parasitics. The presence of an antibiotic provides the resistant bacteria with a selective growth advantage in the infected host or environment. These resistant bacteria can then spread more widely within a population, or to other populations or environments. It is therefore critically important to further understand the emergence and spread of AMR to find ways to prevent and control infections.

AMR is particularly problematic because the discovery and development of novel antibiotics has slowed while antibiotic use to treat bacterial infection has increased. In addition, the routine use of antibiotics in food animal production also significantly increases the probability of developing resistance. The global challenge to address AMR goes beyond the production of new antibiotics and therapies. Reducing demand for new antibiotics through public awareness, infection prevention and control, prudent and rational use of antibiotics in One Health, as well as effective diagnosis and surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections and antibiotic use, are crucial when dealing with this problem globally.

More information on AMR

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): Antimicrobial resistance

WHO: Antimicrobial resistance

Discover Antibiotic Resistance (animation made by JPIAMR):