Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a topic that very well matches the prerequisites for a joint programming (JP). It is a global problem that concerns us all and even though it is often described as an emerging threat it is in fact already upon us. Currently, the European research on antimicrobial resistance is dispersed and show little collaboration between member states and associated countries. As shown by a recent mapping exercise within JPIAMR, few countries appear to have a program addressing antimicrobial resistance; rather, countries are financing separate projects that have been selected in competition with projects from other research areas. The aim of the JPIAMR is to integrate relevant scientific fields across national borders and to create a common European research agenda with a shared common vision.

The need for this initiative is obvious – bacteria and other infecting agents know no borders and therefore trans-national cooperation is crucial. Joint actions are desperately needed and JPIAMR provides the forum and platform for initiating and coordinating these actions. The participating countries have been dedicated to the arranged activities, showing a great commitment to the success of the initiativeTogether they have formed the first seed of a joint vision on how to combat antimicrobial resistance.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was originally sensitive. Resistant organisms (they include bacteria, fungi, viruses and some parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial medicines, such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist increasing risk of spread to others. The evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon that happens when microorganisms are exposed to antimicrobial drugs, and resistant traits can be exchanged between certain types of bacteria. The misuse of antimicrobial medicines accelerates this natural phenomenon. Poor infection control practices encourages the spread of AMR.

Why is antimicrobial resistance a global concern?

  1. AMR kills
  2. AMR hampers the control of infectious diseases
  3. AMR threatens a return to the pre-antibiotic era
  4. AMR increases the costs of health care
  5. AMR jeopardizes health-care gains to society
  6. AMR threatens health security, and damages trade and economies

*Reference: WHO WEBSITE

Coordination benefits

The global and multifaceted problem of antimicrobial resistance will demand vast and versatile solutions. The figure below illustrates the need of comprehensive interventions to address the problem, involving a wide range of sectors of society; policy makers, health care, education, industry, environmental agencies, agriculture, veterinary medicine, research, and other areas. The JPIAMR cannot address all aspects of the problem, but may show a way forward by producing new research and creating networks that can create long-termmomentum for other areas in society. There is an urgent need for interdisciplinary and publicprivate partnerships to support research in the antimicrobial resistance area. Exchangesbetween industry, public health bodies, and academic bodies will entail not only sharing costs, but also coordination of the respective research activities. This is where JPIAMR can make a difference. A European partnership targeting this area has a high potential to boost research advances and innovations and to increase the competitiveness of the European Union on a global scale.

The complex interplay between different sectors in the spread of antimicrobial resistance (From Davies, M. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2010 Sep;74(3):417-33)

EU funding currently accounts for only 5% of all European research financing, and national organisations provide the great majority of funding. While many of these organisations allocate funding to research projects on antimicrobial resistance through open, competitive grants, few have a defined programme or strategy for research in the field, or participate in international networks or collaborations dedicated to the problem.