A new report from the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a first of its kind known as the AMR Preparedness Index, provides an evaluation and roadmap for the 11 largest global economies and their efforts to tackle rising cases of antimicrobial resistance.
While recognition of the threat has risen, according to the organizations, there has been a broad failure to match public promises and actual actions to avert a crisis. The U.K. and the United States have fared best along with Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. Case studies were presented from Australia, Kenya, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden as well.
“Increasing resistance to life-saving antimicrobials, together with our broken innovation pipeline, threatens to erode the very foundation of modern medicine and, with it, erase one of the principal achievements of the 20th century – the miracle of human longevity,” Michael Hodin, CEO of the GCOA, said. “As the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) Decade of Healthy Ageing brings greater attention and energy to our remarkable demographic achievement and the COVID-19 experience make clear the compounded risk to older adults from infectious disease, we must fully acknowledge the threat that AMR poses to the very prospect of healthy and active aging. Without true action to effectively address AMR, tens of millions of lives – both young and old – will be cut short, and so many others will be diminished as a result of care foregone over concerns about now untreatable infection.”
It is estimated that 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections, and those figures are expected to grow as the problem worsens. Resistance is increasing to existing drugs, increasing the risk of even routine medical care.
“If unaddressed, the continued rise of AMR is expected to lead to as many as 10 million deaths per year, disability and lower quality of life for millions more, and $100 trillion in lost GDP by 2050,” the organizations said in a statement.
Countries were ranked based on seven categories. The results led the GCOA and IDSA to recommend several means of bolstering government action, as well, including:
- Strengthening and implementing national AMR strategies
- Educating on AMR and its consequences
- Increasing surveillance and data usage
- Allowing for a restructured antimicrobial marketplace and stimulating innovation
- Promoting responsible use of antibiotics
- Assuring reliability of access for antimicrobials
- Rolling One Health approach into national strategies when considering antibiotics use
- Increasing cooperation
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made painfully clear to all the far-reaching impact of untreatable infectious diseases across societies and economies,” Dr. Barbara Alexander, IDSA president, said. “As we enter the next stage of the pandemic and with global momentum for AMR action building among G7 countries – in the UK with the launch of the subscription pilot, and most recently, with the reintroduction of the PASTEUR Act in the US Congress – the 2021 AMR Preparedness Index comes at a pivotal moment. We are pleased to partner with the Global Coalition on Aging to create this vital tool that will help governments around the world reinforce their words with actions.”