Drug-resistant infections are a rapidly escalating global health crisis – we need to fight back

The writing is on the wall. There can be no time for delays in starting the global fightback against antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, argues Samuel Lovett

Thursday 20 January 2022 16:31
<p>A bacteria culture that shows a positive infection of enterohemorrhagic E. coli</p>

A bacteria culture that shows a positive infection of enterohemorrhagic E. coli

If the lessons of Covid-19 are anything to go by, the latest data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and its worldwide impact should stir policymakers into immediate action.

As concern around coronavirus recedes in parts of the globe, the long shadow cast by AMR grows with each day. A striking new study published in The Lancet – the most comprehensive of its kind to date – estimates that 1.27 million people died as a result of antibiotic resistant infections in 2019. A further 3.68 million deaths were linked to these “superbugs”.

This is almost double previous estimates for the death toll from AMR and points to a global health threat that is rapidly escalating beyond the clutches of our control. The estimates for 2019 indicate that antimicrobial resistance is now killing more people than HIV or malaria, making it one of the world’s leading causes of death.

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