Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the major threats to global health, food security and development as it threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. About 700,000 people die each year from bacterial infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
AMR affects peoples lives now
Today a number of diseases have developed resistance to antimicrobial drug treatment. The incorrect use of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant bacteria which means that antibiotics may no longer be effective and thus this can be a major threat, for example, to cancer treatment. Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.
The high volume of antibiotics in food-producing animals contributes to the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, particularly in settings of intensive animal production. In some countries, the total amount of antibiotics used in animals is 4 times larger than the amount used in humans according to WHO. These are only a few examples of how AMR is affecting our lives today
Bacteria develop resistance, not humans
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines/antibiotics making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the human body, increasing the risk of spread to others. Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
Research is the key to find solutions
If we fail to solve this global threat and complex challenge, many advances of modern medicine that depend on treating infections with antibiotics – routine surgery, chronic diseases, cancer therapy – may be jeopardized.
A failure to address the threat of AMR could result in 10 million deaths by 2050 and 1.2 trillion USD additional health expenditure per year expected by 2050 due to the rise of AMR. A One Health approach working across human, animal and environmental health needs to be implemented at regional, national and global level to tackle AMR.
Curbing AMR relies on a One Health approach
The global challenge to address AMR thus 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, as well as effective diagnosis and surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections and antibiotic use, with a One Health perspective are crucial when dealing with this problem globally.
The One Health approach is at the center of JPIAMR’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). The SRIA defines six strategic and scientific priorities required to reducing antimicrobial resistance, improving public health and wellbeing of populations and delivering economic and societal benefits.
JPIAMRs work is focused on finding and supporting solutions, curbing AMR on a global scale.
Discover Antibiotic Resistance
Learn more on AMR in this animation made by JPIAMR.
More facts and information on AMR
- WHO: Factsheet on antimicrobial resistance
- WHO: Antimicrobial resistance in the food chain
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): Antimicrobial resistance
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: AMR in Food and Agriculture
- The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE): AMR and Animal Health
- ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance: The global threat of antibiotic resistance
- Fleming Fund: Facts about AMR
- The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP): Scientific Antimicrobial Encyclopedia
- NIH MedlinePlus Magazine: Leading antimicrobial drug-resistant diseases