USA – Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most pressing issues in healthcare, and the CDC and WHO have addressed these concerns at the annual world congress with plans to combat AMR.

Antimicrobials are medications that are used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals, and plants. They include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve and no longer respond to antibiotics, making infections more difficult to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.

Antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective as a result of drug resistance, and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

The consequences of AMR are dire, as 2.4 million deaths are predicted across Europe, North America, and Australia from 2015-2050 due to AMR.

Worldwide, 28 million people are anticipated to become impoverished due to AMR, and healthcare costs may increase by up to US$1 trillion by 2050.

The cost of AMR to national economies and health systems is significant because it reduces the productivity of patients and caregivers by requiring longer hospital stays and more expensive and intensive care.

Subsequently, the World Health Organization is working to spread the message that vaccines are critical in the fight against AMR. The WHO plan has three strategic goals:

  • Increase the use of licensed vaccines to maximize their impact on AMR,
  • Develop new vaccines that contribute to AMR prevention and control, and
  • Increase and share knowledge of vaccine impact on AMR.

To achieve these objectives, WHO is assisting countries in developing their own AMR National Action Plans, as well as educating countries on which vaccine investments should be made to prevent AMR.

emphasized the importance of understanding the landscape of licensed and developing vaccines to combat WHO priority pathogens such as tuberculosis and Clostridium difficile.

Carbapenem-resistant organisms (CROs) are concerning because carbapenems are the most powerful antibiotic available in many countries. Infection with a CRO has a higher than 50% mortality rate, and these infections are nearly untreatable.

CROs can spread between bacteria, between people (symptomatic and asymptomatic), between facilities, and between countries.

CROs continue to pose a public health risk, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and this disparity is widening.

Because pathogens are spreading across borders, all countries must work together to detect and contain dangerous pathogens at the source.

Increased infection prevention and control (IPC) and AMR containment have been highlighted as crucial strategies to help curb CRO infections against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged world economies.

IPC programs are clinical and public health specialties that allow healthcare systems to provide care in a safe manner.

The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted the CDC to improve IPC globally, but especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

A significant post-COVID-19 development has been put in place: The Global Fund is now available for IPC.

The Global Fund pools global resources to assist local organizations, and in recognition of the devastation caused by COVID-19, and has committed to making IPC funding available through the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

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