July 27, 2023

WHO Global Research

Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first global research agenda to inform scientists across the globe of the most urgent health priorities in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The WHO global research agenda targets research priorities under the following categories: Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, cross-cutting, and drug-resistant TB. These targets include a multitude of activities including ones we work on here at HSP such as infection prevention and control, antimicrobial use & stewardship, as well as education and evaluation. How does AMR impact the World? AMR is a critical global health issue that affects people from all walks of life, including members of the public. It impacts public health, agriculture, policy, and economics. Here's an overview of the key aspects of antimicrobial resistance: 1. What are antimicrobials? Antimicrobials are substances that kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. They include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitic drugs. 2. What is antimicrobial resistance? Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms, like bacteria, viruses, or fungi, develop the ability to survive drugs designed to kill or inhibit them. In other words, these microorganisms become "resistant" to the effects of antimicrobial drugs, making infections harder to treat, and consequently increasing the risk of severe illness or death. 3. How does antimicrobial resistance happen? AMR can develop through natural processes over time, but human activities have accelerated its emergence. Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs in humans, animals, and agriculture play a significant role. When microbes are exposed to antimicrobials unnecessarily or are not fully eradicated by these drugs, some resistant microorganisms may survive and multiply, passing on their resistance to future generations. 4. Why is antimicrobial resistance a concern? AMR can have serious consequences for public health, animal health, and the environment. If antimicrobials lose their effectiveness, common infections could become life-threatening, and routine medical procedures like surgeries, cancer treatments, and childbirth would become riskier due to the higher chance of infection complications. Additionally, AMR could also undermine food security if it affects livestock and agricultural practices. 5. What can the public do to help? Everyone has a role to play in combating antimicrobial resistance: a. Use antibiotics responsibly: Only take antibiotics when prescribed by a healthcare professional, and complete the full course as directed. Never share or use leftover antibiotics. b. Practice good hygiene: Regular hand washing, food safety measures, and proper sanitation can prevent infections and reduce the need for antimicrobials. c. Support vaccination programs: Vaccines can prevent many infections, reducing the demand for antimicrobial drugs. d. Advocate for responsible antimicrobial use: Encourage healthcare providers, policymakers, and agricultural professionals to promote responsible use of antimicrobials. e. Stay informed: Learn about AMR and its impact. Spread awareness in your community about the importance of using antimicrobials responsibly. By working together, we can help preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs and protect public health for future generations. https://www.who.int/news/item/22-06-2023-who-outlines-40-research-priorities-on-antimicrobial-resistance