Fighting AMR Media for medical/Getty Images

How to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

Drug-resistant microbes kill 700,000 people every year – more than three times the annual death toll from armed conflicts. A global challenge of this scale demands public-private collaboration, in which governments make up for market failures, and companies bring to bear their knowledge and experience.

ZURICH – Two weeks ago, G20 leaders committed to working together to address one of the world’s most pressing and perplexing security threats: antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – a fierce and evolving adversary against which conventional therapeutic weapons are of no use.

The threat is straightforward: bacteria and other microbes are becoming resistant to available medicines faster than new medicines are being developed. Every year, drug-resistant microbes kill about 700,000 people worldwide – more than three times the annual death toll from armed conflicts.

In 2016, a special panel commissioned by the British government predicted that, by 2050, as many as ten million more people will die from drug-resistant microbes every year. AMR now poses a clear and present danger to every person on the planet. Unless we confront it head-on, we could return to a world in which it is common for people to die from basic infections.

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