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Global Cooperation as a Life-and-Death Issue

While governments, industry, and international organizations have made important strides over the last two years in tackling the threat posed by rising antimicrobial resistance, the truth is that their work has barely begun. If we are to prevent the slow-motion car crash of surging AMR, our leaders must hit the brakes hard.

LONDON – The uncertainty generated by the United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union – which has sent shockwaves through global markets – has been dominating headlines. But, as we prepare to face new political trials, we must not lose sight of the challenges we already face, especially global health challenges like the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which has no regard for economic performance or political stability.

As it stands, an estimated 700,000 people are losing their lives to drug-resistant infections each year. By 2050, this figure could skyrocket to ten million per year, at a cumulative cost to world GDP of $100 trillion..

To avoid that outcome, in May the Review on AMR that I lead published its strategy for tackling such infections, laying out proposals to ensure the development of the necessary new antibiotics, and to use existing antibiotics more efficiently in humans and agriculture. Of the ten major interventions we proposed, four are particularly important:

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