Health Care

Antimicrobial resistance needs an urgent global response

Antimicrobial resistance needs an urgent global response”

"Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare".

'The government's renewed focus on tackling AMR is very welcome, and dentists have a vital contribution to make in keeping antibiotics working, ' said Dr Nick Palmer, editor and co-author of the Faculty's prescribing guidance. Where treatable infections become untreatable, where routine surgery like a hip operation becomes too risky to carry out, and where every wound is potentially life-threatening.

"Through this plan we are setting out our challenge to ourselves and to other countries to continue our excellent work together to preserve and develop these essential medicines for generations to come and help us address one of the most pressing global health challenges we face this century", Michael Gove, the UK's secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, and Matt Hancock, MPhil, health and social care secretary, write in the foreword to the plan.

A 5-year plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) published by the United Kingdom government has ambitious goals.

Almost half a million people developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in 2016.

At the same time, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) confirmed previous year that more than 90,000 people in Britain could die over the next three decades unless action is taken to halt the rise in antibiotic-resistant superbug infections.

It also sets out specific targets, including halving healthcare-associated Gram-negative blood stream infections, reducing the overall number of specific drug-resistant infections by 10% within five years, and reducing antibiotic use in food-producing animals by 25% between 2016 and 2020.

The industry has already made substantial gains in the fight against antibiotics use.

We will pay upfront so pharmaceutical companies know that it's worthwhile for them to invest the estimated £1 billion it costs to develop a new drug.

Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infections, but are ineffective against viral infections like the common cold or flu.

The plan aims to build on the success of the previous United Kingdom 5-year AMR strategy, which was launched in 2013 with the aim of improving knowledge and understanding of AMR, conserving antibiotics, and stimulating development of new treatments for drug-resistant infections.

The new five-year action plan for 2019-2024 builds on a five-year document covering the last five years, and was accompanied by a 20-year vision on how to tackle AMR.

"The UK has shown worldwide leadership in raising the profile of this global health threat and today reinforces its commitment to finding solutions to the issues which have hampered the development of new medicines for so long".

There are few greater risks to long-term global health than the increasing resistance of many infections to antibiotics.

The intention to test a new payment model for antibiotics also suggests the government desire to promote research and development of new antibiotics.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing the new formula in conjunction with industry and is due to publish its proposals at the end of January 2019.

"Promising findings include 105 countries with a surveillance system in place for reporting drug-resistant infections in human health and 68 countries with a system for tracking consumption of antimicrobials", the agency wrote past year. With the emergence of drug-resistant infections like super-gonorrhoea posing serious threats to health, we need to protect the antibiotics we have by making sure they are used only when needed.

You might have heard of a type of medicine called antibiotics.

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