Seminar blog | Are we resisting resistance?

At the beginning of July, the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre started its new series of seminars with a talk from Anthony McDonnell from the Wellcome Trust. Anthony gave his perspective on AMR and spoke about the AMR (O’Neill) Review, which was implemented to raise awareness of AMR outside of the health industry and tackle important questions about what could happen if we don’t acknowledge AMR and take action.

Read more about the Review and other Press Releases here.

Economic cost

With collaborators, the report argues that if hospital-acquired drug-resistant infection rates (that is, infections caught while in hospital that are resistant to antibiotics) rose to 40%, this could equate to ten million deaths a year by 2050. This would represent a higher cause of mortality than cancer (currently at 8.2 million) and would result in an estimated cumulative GDP loss of $100.2 trillion by 2050. This is a conservative estimate that does not include hours lost for carers, the disruption caused when family members are ill, or the secondary health costs of surgery, cancer drugs and other treatments become less effective. This value equates to approximately 3% global GDP, and represents a much greater challenge if not dealt with sooner.

Increasing demand and decreasing supply

Anthony went on to demonstrate that resistance rates are rising across the world, and how certain strains of bacteria (e.g. E.coli and Klebsiella) are almost completely unaffected by some antibiotics (such as imipenem). This problem is further compounded by a lack of forthcoming drugs, due to low profit for new drugs and trying to limit their use, which reduces sales volumes.

What can be done?

The review picked up on three areas of recommendation to support the market for antibiotics and mediate the potential problems discussed above:

  1. Fund more early stage research.
  2. Provide lump-sum payments.
  3. Bring in mid-stage interventions.

Anthony finished his presentation by reviewing the impact of reducing demand for antibiotics, as well as the effect of the agricultural industry on AMR. He suggested that improving diagnostic devises for bacterial infections, surveillance of antibiotic use, implementing a standard protocol for antibiotic use in the agricultural industry, and how manufacturing wastes are dealt with should help to mitigate the problems we are facing.

Missed the seminar?

You can read about all our previous seminars, here. Or watch Anthony’s talk again, here.

Don’t forget to check our website for the latest news and events on AMR.