The global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance; first systematic analysis in The Lancet

A recent systematic analysis of the global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance published in The Lancet last week shows that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major threat to human health around the world, with the largest burden in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The study includes the most comprehensive estimates of AMR burden to date and claims that roughly 4.95 million deaths were associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, 1.27 million of which can be directly attributed to AMR.

The accompanying editorial in The Lancet asserts that AMR is a major cause of death globally, “with a burden likely to be higher than that of HIV or malaria,” but while there have been clear warning signs and consistent calls for action, the reaction has been intermittent and unequal. The authors call upon the Global Fund to revise its mission and embrace AMR as one of its core responsibilities.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the priority research areas at AIGHD. In addition to the various AMR-focused projects, AIGHD is a leader in AMR-Global, a public-private partnership bringing together experts in science, business, policy, and society to fight against AMR. AMR-Global aims to lift barriers to development, evaluation, and implementation of interventions to combat AMR, with emphasis on innovations that matter for people in low- and middle-income countries.

Most recently, AMR-Global has kicked off the GLORIA program. GLORIA, or “AMR-Global: Reducing inappropriate exposure to antibiotics” is a collaboration co-funded by the PPP Allowance made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to stimulate public-private partnerships. The program currently has two lines of research focused on reducing inappropriate antibiotic usage in LMIC and the development of improved point-of-care tests to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections.

Improving the understanding of the impact of AMR should be a very high priority for global health policymakers. AIGHD’s projects, including Sonar-Global, OASIS, MAGIcIAN, HECTOR, and FAKE aim to increase this understanding and awareness to stop resistance. It is through our AMR research that we will contribute to a comprehensive strategy towards solving AMR, one of the main objectives of the UN SDGs.

For more information on AMR projects at AIGHD, read here.