Here are selected highlights of recent ReAct news and opinions, our policy briefs, fact sheets and published journal articles on a broad set of topics relevant for global and national debates on how to tackle antibiotic resistance.
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As we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the discovery of penicillin, it is appropriate to take a look at the current state of modern medicine since the discovery penicillin and the other antibiotics that followed. Here are seven ways that penicillin changed modern medicine.
One Health is often used as a buzzword – a word that evokes reactions and feels intuitively positive. Unfortunately, it is often poorly defined and understood. One attempt to define it is as a connectivity. The health of humans is connected to the health of animals and plants and vice versa. We all share this space, whether we call it a biome, ecosystem or Mother Earth.
In May of 2018, the WHO released the first-ever list of essential diagnostics to improve diagnosis and treatment outcomes to the delight of many champions of antimicrobial resistance across the globe. In Africa, the release of this list was particularly exciting to one doctor in Nairobi, Kenya, who has long been an advocate for the development of such a list.
As global attention and political will to address the rising tide of antibiotic resistance has increased over the last years, and a wider range of actors starting to become involved in the field, the urgency of developing global governance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is growing.
Professor Anthony So,Head of ReAct North America is appointed Co-convener of the United Nations Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance by the United Nations Secretary General.
“I’m honored by the opportunity and humbled by the challenge we face in putting forward strategic recommendations for the UN Secretary General in addressing antimicrobial resistance.”
According to a recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, global antibiotic consumption in humans has increased dramatically from 2000 to 2015. The study rings a bell on the complex challenges posed by underuse, misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
Recent studies show that today many pharmaceutical companies are still discharging antibiotics into the environment on a mass scale via wastewater from their production plants.
Over the last years pharmaceutical companies made commitments for change and curbing antibiotic waste has been voiced as one of their top priorities. This year we grab the opportunity at World Water Day to look where we are at now: Have pharmaceutical companies taken action on their own commitments? And how are governments tackling this issue?
In a commentary in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, leading experts from ReAct and other key stakeholder groups discuss the increasing problem with lack of availability of essential antibiotics.
Thomas Tängdén, Medical Director, ReAct Europe, says:
“Shortages and sudden price increases of antibiotics have been reported, indicating a fragile supply system. Consequences might include worse clinical outcome, accelerated resistance development, and increased costs for the individual and society at large.”
“Caring about antibiotic resistance is similar to reducing plastic waste or saving water”, says Dr. Windhi Kresnawati. She is a pediatrician and has worked in a remote area in Indonesia for the past 4 years. During this time she managed to engage various stakeholders to support and participate in a series of activities to raise their awareness on antibiotic resistance.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics gives rise to new ethical problems. Much of medical ethics prior to antibiotics has been focused on whether a certain procedure is justified, for example with respect to safety, efficacy and costs. But as antibiotic resistance has a global impact that persists over time, new questions arise that cannot be solved only by more or better science. In contrast with science, which is descriptive, ethics is normative. Ethics deals with what we ought to do or ought not to do.
In the early 1990s, a group of clinical specialists in Sweden realized that action was needed against antibiotic resistance, as multi-drug resistant pneumococci were increasingly seen among children.
Although Sweden has a well-structured health care system, the antibiotic stewardship efforts were weak and not coordinated. While some physicians had seen the huge impact of antibiotics on health first-hand, many seemed oblivious to the consequences of overuse.
It is a well-known fact that antibiotic resistant infections have a major influence on the health of people globally. Antibiotic resistance increases both mortality and morbidity due to treatment failures and lack of effective therapy. But antibiotic resistance has even more far-reaching consequences on different levels that often tend to be overlooked.
To learn more about our microbiome, read the new ReAct factsheet on the topic: “All You Wanted to Know About Microbes But Were Afraid to Ask… The Human Microbiome”.
National Action Plans are an essential component of the global strategies to address antibiotic resistance. At the country level, ReAct supports the development of National Action Plans together with partners from WHO, FAO, OIE and civil society organizations.
This week Professor Otto Cars, founder of ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance, was formally nominated to the United Nations (UN) ad-hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (ICG-AMR) by the United Nations Secretary General.
This paper examines how a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are impacted by antimicrobial resistance and suggests how to integrate the issue better into ongoing international policy processes using SDGs as an entry point.
The Antibiotic Resistance Coalition, a cross-sectoral coalition of 25 organizations which ReAct North America coordinates, has developed a comprehensive set of principles which guides the work and policy positions on antibiotic resistance.
ReAct held a series of briefings at the UNICEF’s headquarters in New York, USA, on the connection between antibiotic resistance and some of the major topics the organization covers such as health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The world has a collective responsibility to preserve antibiotic effectiveness and access for all. This paper lays down policy implications and global governance tools necessary to addressed to resolve access vs. excess dilemma.
This paper co-authored by ReAct points out the critical need to scale-up funding for low-and middle-income countries to support antimicrobial conservation and proposes a formation of the fund coordinating such support.
Overview of all news and opinion pieces from ReAct.
More policy briefs and position papers from ReAct.
More scientific articles recently written by ReAct colleagues.
A selection of educational material developed by ReAct about antibiotic resistance.
More fact sheets developed by ReAct on relevant topics for antibiotic resistance.
A selection of ReAct produced reports.