News and Opinions  –  2021

Lancet Global Health article release: Resetting the agenda for antibiotic resistance

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2021-06-15

COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic - the next one is already here: antibiotic resistance. Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic can help mobilize urgent global action to address the silent pandemic of antibiotic resistance affecting countries throughout the world.

Antibiotics are critical components of all health systems. In an article published online in The Lancet Global Health June 15, authors from the senior leadership of ReAct, argue that a health system approach nationally and globally is critical to mitigate the devastating consequences of antibiotic resistance.

Securing access to effective antibiotics as a global resource requires a rapidly elevated political responsibility and engagement from society in all countries. High-income countries need to provide global leadership by reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics in all sectors; by financing new delinked approaches for the development of new antibiotics; and by allocating adequate resources to strengthen capacity and governance for implementation of national action plans in less-resourced countries.

Professor Otto Cars, Senior Advisor and founder of ReAct.

Lead author and Senior Advisor for ReAct, Professor Otto Cars, says:

“While it is positive to see the global community wanting to make COVID-19 the last pandemic, it is deeply concerning that the ongoing pandemic of antibiotic resistance still flies below the radar of policy makers. We need to speed up actions, change the narrative on how antibiotic resistance is portrayed, and move on from the over-reliance that the current innovation system will deliver the novel treatments needed.”

Professor Cars also remarks:

“COVID-19 has generated unprecedented global collaborations, which are also urgently needed to mobilize the required policy response to antibiotic resistance.”

Sujith Chandy, Director, ReAct Asia Pacific. Photo: Therese Holm, ReAct

Professor Sujith J Chandy, Director of ReAct Asia Pacific says:

 “Our global inter-connectedness in terms of health, and in particular infectious diseases has never been more evident. There is an urgent need for tangible action to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. Many low- and middle-income countries have enthusiastically developed national action plans, but are not able to move forward due to lack of resources to implement them. This requires global resources to be mobilized quickly, but also a long-term national commitment, where antibiotic resistance is integrated in existing development efforts.”

Professor Chandy concludes:

“COVID-19 has exposed global health inequalities in terms of timely access to lifesaving medicines and prophylactic measures. The global community must learn from this. Ultimately, the end goal of our efforts in addressing antibiotic resistance should be to ensure sustainable access to effective antibiotics for all.”

For more information please contact

ReAct Europe
Senior Advisor Otto Cars: otto.cars@medsci.uu.se
Communications Manager Therese Holm: therese.holm@medsci.uu.se

ReAct Africa
Director Mirfin Mpundu: mirfin.mpundu@reactafrica.org

ReAct Asia Pacific
Director Sujith J Chandy: sjchandyRAP@gmail.com

ReAct Latin America
Director Arturo Quizhpe: aquizhpe@yahoo.com

ReAct North America
Director Anthony So: anthony.so@jhu.edu