New Delhi: A recent study by British Economist Lord Jim O’Neil, Chairman of the Review on Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) has come up with path breaking recommendations which challenge the prevalent practices on drug resistance.
The 6th report on the Review on Anti Microbial Resistance was published on February 11 that sets out that there are too few vaccines and alternative approaches to antibiotics available for doctors to use to tackle many of our most urgent drug resistance threats. More investment needs to go into developing these products.
O’Neill said that the problem of drug-resistant infections could be compared to a slow-motion car crash – one that has sadly already begun. 700,000 people are already dying every year from resistant infections, rising to 10 million a year by 2050 without action to hit the brakes now.
He added that antibiotics are important to tackle this threat, but if we can encourage the development and use of vaccines and other alternatives we give the world a better chance of beating drug-resistance.
This is the latest in a series of reports by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), before the final recommendations are made to the UK Prime Minister in May 2016, which will set out a package of actions to tackle drug-resistant infections globally.
The report recommends that vaccines can be useful to combat drug resistance because they reduce the number of infections and avoid antibiotics being used, which is a key driver of drug resistance. But vaccine development takes a long time, often more than 10 years, and is expensive, with the vast majority of potential vaccines failing to reach the market.
In addition to vaccines and in response to the growing threat of drug-resistant infections, there are many new areas of scientific research emerging that could become alternatives to antibiotics or help reduce our dependence on them by preventing infections.
However, for many of the most worrying drug-resistant diseases the current pace of progress and funding offers little to no hope that new products will be available in the next five to ten years.
India has taken AMR as a serious issue and the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare is organising the Global AMR Conclave, from February 23-25, 2016 at New Delhi, at which Chief Medical Officer of UK, Dame Sally Davies will be present, along with members of Lord O’Neill’s Review team, and UK’s Charity NESTA which runs the Longitude Prize.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., Pune, India, said that the increased resistance to antimicrobials is a global problem of immense concern and implementing the strategies outlined in Lord O’Neill’s report is an important priority. Ensuring that comprehensive use of WHO approved vaccines occurs is an important starting point.