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193 countries unite to combat 'apocalyptic risk' of antimicrobial resistance

Caused by over-use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, antimicrobial resistance threatens to render existing drugs useless again even simply infections.

Faced with the enormous challenge of developing new antibiotics and preventing diseases through greater use of immunisation throughout the lifecourse, the UN’s 193 member states have now committed to producing an action plan within the next two years.

The nations have committed to:

  • Develop surveillance and regulatory systems on the use and sales of antimicrobial medicines for humans and animals
  • Encourage innovative ways to develop new antibiotics, and improve rapid diagnostics
  • Educate health professionals and the public on how to prevent drug resistant infections

Earlier this year, the UK’s O’Neill Antimicrobial Resistance Review also called for greater investment in expanding vaccine coverage to reduce reliance on antibiotics.

The UK has set its own target to reduce inappropriate prescriptions and the incidence of high risk bacterial infections in hospitals by 50% by 2020 and cut the level of antibiotic use in the agricultural sector to 50mg/kg by 2020.