This past week, the UN General Assembly featured a high-level meeting on the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)—by far the most high-profile gathering ever on this topic, and just the fourth ever such meeting on a health-related issue following HIV (2001), non-communicable diseases (2011), and Ebola (2014).
CGD Policy Blogs
From the superbug scare in Pennsylvania last month to the UK’s recently released Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, slowing the rate at which infections become resistant to antibiotics is rising up the list of global health priorities—and rightfully so. The Review estimates that deaths from antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could reach 10 million people a year by 2050 if we don’t reduce the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, and that the economic damage could add up to a staggering $100 trillion by 2050.
“Google for Doctors”: How the G20 and World Bank Can Help Tackle Antibiotic Resistance – Podcast with Lord Jim O’Neill
The economist who coined the term "BRICS" thinks he has a hot investing tip. In this edition of the CGD podcast, Lord Jim O’Neill of Gatley, a minister in the UK Treasury, tells me that if it costs the world $40 billion over ten years to stop 10 million deaths and “stop the loss of $100 trillion of global GDP, that’s something like a two-and-a-half-thousand percent return.... That seems to me like a pretty good investment.”
Most antibiotics around the world today are fed to farm animals to promote growth and prevent diseases fostered by crowded conditions on factory farms. There is an urgent need to find alternatives to keep animals healthy, and preserve crucial antibiotics for human health. One way to do that would be to create an international treaty not to use antibiotics in livestock feed — and probiotics, like those found in yogurt, may be a stepping stone toward that goal.
Imagine if a small cut could evolve into a lengthy hospital stay, or worse; if doctors refused to perform surgery or transplants due to prohibitive risk during recovery; and if our collective gains against the world’s biggest infectious killers—HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, pneumonia, and more—slowed, stalled, and reversed. These nightmare scenarios could become the new global reality if common pathogens evolve to withstand and survive treatment with antimicrobial drugs, a phenomenon known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR).