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The Global Threat of AMR

Antibiotic Resistance: A Public Health Crisis

By Prof. Victoria J. Fraser, MD.

who introduces the causes and emerging threat of antibiotic resistance.

According to WHO, by 2050, antibiotic-resistance related death may become the major health crisis

WHO predicts that infectious diseases will overtake cancer in 2050 and become the leading cause of death in the world.


Antibiotic drugs are of crucial importance for human healthcare, and food production, as 70 to 80% of the antibiotics are used for non-humans, in particular for livestocks and fish farms.

Drug-resistant bacteria naturally emerge in the environments, and the soil is a huge reservoir for potential drug-resistant bacteria. However, with the dissemination of chemical agents and antibiotic drugs into the environments, drug-resistant bacteria are selected by natural selection, which means they increase in abundance due to their competitive advantage against non-resistant bacteria. In addition, drug-resistant genes (AMR genes) can be easily transferred to other species, including pathogenic bacteria of livestock, pets, and Humans. Because AMR genes are maintained in various environments and spread to new species, the number of multi-drug resistant bacteria increases. Consequently, the probabilities for deadly outbreaks increases over time.


In the light of the above considerations, the problem of antibiotic resistance, therefore, cannot be resolved by considering only human-centered health-care practices. Ecological, agricultural, economic, societal, and urban aspects must be considered as well. In particular, we must pounder the uses of antibiotic drugs and prevent at all cost the dissemination of chemical agents and antibiotic drugs into the environments, urban areas, and clinical facilities, to not favor the emergence of new resistant pathogens. 


This makes the problem of antibiotic drug resistance a multi-factorial and complex issue that requires system-oriented solutions and coordination at a global scale.


Author: Dr. Arno Germond

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