What are antimicrobials?

  • Antimicrobials are agents of natural, semisynthetic or synthetic origin that kills microorganisms or inhibits growth.
  • Antimicrobials is the umbrella term for antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals.
  • All antibiotics are antimicrobials, but not all antimicrobials are antibiotics.
  • Types of microorganisms include – bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

  • Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microbes to resist the effects of drugs.
  • Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as "superbugs."
  • Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.

    AMR is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society. -WHO

What is happening currently?

  • Antibiotic resistance is present in every country.
  • Each year in the United States, at least 2.8 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials and at least 35,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.
  • The CDC estimates that resistant infections result in $20 billion in excess direct healthcare costs and an additional $35 billion due to lost productivity.
  • Bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Staphylococcus aureus are quickly developing resistance to powerful wide-spectrum antibiotics.
  • Some Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae bacteria have become resistant to most available antibiotics. Infections with these germs are very difficult to treat, and can be deadly.
  • Among gram-positive pathogens, a global pandemic of resistant S. aureus and Enterococcus species currently poses the biggest threat.5,16 MRSA kills more Americans each year than HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, emphysema, and homicide combined.
  • E. coli with mcr-1 has been found in the U.S.
    • Mcr-1 gene confers bacterial resistance to the "last line of defense" antibiotic Colistin.
    • Mcr-1 gene could jump to other bacteria that respond only to Colistin, creating a potentially unstoppable superbug.
  • Discovery and development of new antibiotics has slowed dramatically.

What will happen if we don't act?

  • Experts warn that everyone will be affected if nothing is done to address resistance as soon as possible.
  • Treating cuts and wounds could become problematic due to the risk of untreatable infection, and easy-to-cure infections will be rendered untreatable.
  • Without effective antimicrobials, the success of common surgeries, cancer treatments, and organ transplants would be compromised.
  • Experts predict AMR will kill 10 million people a year worldwide – more than currently die from cancer – by 2050 unless action is taken.

"700,000 people die of resistant infections every year."

"We estimate that by 2050, 10 million lives a year and a cumulative 100 trillion USD of economic output are at risk due to the rise of drug resistant infections. Even today, 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year. On this basis, by 2050, the death toll could be a staggering one person every three seconds and each person in the world today will be more than 10,000 USD worse "Routine surgeries and minor infections will become life- threatening once again and the hard won victories against infectious diseases of the last fifty years will be jeopardized. Hospital stays and expenses, for both public health care providers and for out of –pocket payers will increase significantly. Drug resistant infections are already on the rise with numbers suggesting that up to 50,000 lives are lost each year to antibiotic-resistant infections in Europe and the US alone" – Review on AMR

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