Writing for Project Syndicate, Jim O’Neill, Chairman of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), discusses the state of current antibiotics, and the G-7’s commitment to tackling AMR.
O’Neill argues that current antibiotics are becoming ineffective, especially when fighting common illnesses, as well as serious infections, and the more serious infections such as tuberculosis and malaria are now at risk again to become incurable.
It is imperative that the G-20 – and China fight for “antimicrobial resistance” (AMR) to the next level. The failure to address these issues will affect everyone, “to the extent that by 2050, ten million people could be dying as a result of AMR.”
International communities involvement is crucial for any G-7 strategy to be successful, and “that is why members of the World Health Organization have agreed to implement a “global action plan on AMR,” and have called upon the United Nations to convene a high-level meeting of political leaders in 2016.
O’Neill outlines steps for the G-7 countries to fulfill the commitments in their joint declaration. First, he believes antibiotics in animal husbandry should be reduced, and that the best way to do this is by putting pressure on major food companies. Second, medicines should only be used when they are needed, and the key to addressing this problem is, “to develop and improve access to rapid point-of-care diagnostic tools.” Finally,“improved surveillance of the spread of drug-resistant infections, particularly in developing countries, where such data is most sparse.”
“The governments have a rare opportunity to preempt a major crisis, at a fraction of the cost of responding to the crisis once it has been escalated.”
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