Jim O’Neill, former Chair of the independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, summarises the results of the Review and stresses the need to sustain the notable degree of recent progress if the world is to keep ahead of the ‘superbugs’.
When I was first asked by the UK Prime Minister nearly three years ago to lead a globally-focused policy review of the challenges of rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – the alarming process by which so-called ‘superbugs’ are developing resistance to the drugs that we rely on to treat infections – it was a subject about which I had never even heard. Despite the chilling prospect that rising rates of drug-resistant infections may roll back decades of medical progress by making currently commonly curable conditions (whether they be bacterial infections or conditions such as tuberculosis and malaria) once again impossible to treat, it was a topic rarely discussed beyond the circles of scientists and medics. Despite drug-resistant infections already claiming some 700,000 lives globally each year, with a few notable exceptions senior global policy-makers were not taking notice.
Fast forward to 2017 and things have progressed substantially. During a fascinating 24 months spent immersed in the topic, I have seen first-hand in all corners of the world how people are already beginning to suffer from the burden of rising drug resistance, but also how often very innovative solutions to these problems are starting to emerge.
My Review (www. amr-review.org) has been able to make the case that AMR is not simply a medical problem, but rather one that threatens global development and prosperity, with a burden that will fall upon developed and developing countries alike. The research results indicated that…
former Chair of the independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance