PLOS, in collaboration with the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) launched an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) channel during a side event at this years’ World Health Assembly in Geneva. The channel – which brings science, policy, and public health research on AMR together in a single destination – allows individuals, with limited time, to access updates on a range of cross- cutting issues in the AMR space. It comes in response to the need for a holistic approach to address AMR.
With estimates of up to 700,000 deaths per year, AMR is a major and rapidly growing global public health challenge. Despite much international attention and many policy discussions for developing new antibiotics accessible to all, the situation remains a major global concern. Action is required across all government sectors and society to overcome key challenges, which include improving infection prevention, limiting unnecessary use of antibiotics, and using existing antibiotics appropriately in humans, animals, and in agriculture.
“Developing new treatments to tackle AMR is an important global priority. However, doing so in isolation of stewardship, access and surveillance jeopardizes the public health return on investment of developing accessible treatments,’ said Dr Manica Balasegaram, Director of GARDP and one of the channel editors.
At the channel’s launch event, hosted by the Graduate Institute, channel editors talked about the need to move away from working in silos and the importance of adopting an integrated, multidisciplinary and collaborative research approach to address the complexity of AMR. A number of key themes emerged during the panel discussion, including:
- the need for more basic science – and how many pipeline discoveries have been made through basic science projects. Basic science is also essential for other aspects of AMR research, including stewardship and methods of surveillance.
- the importance of disease surveillance to adequately understand populations affected by AMR. Surveillance data can also be used to prioritize registration and early access to newly developed treatments.
- antimicrobial stewardship and the emphasis on the need to stop using antibiotics where they do not work, and refrain from using broad-spectrum antibiotics when narrow-spectrum antibiotics was called for. WHO’s List of Essential Medicines was mentioned in the effort to guide clinicians to use antibiotics appropriately.
The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is a not-for-profit research and development organization that addresses global public health needs by developing and delivering new or improved antibiotic treatments, while endeavouring to ensure their sustainable access. Initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi), GARDP is an important element of WHO’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance that calls for new public-private partnerships to encourage research and development of new antimicrobial agents and diagnostics. www.gardp.org
- Manica Balasegaram, Director of the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP)
- Peter Beyer, Senior Advisor with the World Health Organization, WHO
- Patricia Bradford, founder of Antimicrobial Development Specialists, LLC
- Iruka N. Okeke, Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- Carmem Pessoa-Silva, Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System Coordinator, WHO
- Laura Piddock, Head of Scientific Affairs, GARDP and Professor of Microbiology, University of Birmingham
- Ingrid Smith, Technical Officer for Antibiotic Stewardship, WHO
- Ursula Theuretzbacher, microbiologist and expert for antibacterial drug R&D strategies
Visit channels.plos.org/amr to read or submit research article to the PLOS AMR Channel.
Written for the GHC Newsletter by Susan Frade, GARPD’s communications lead