Nonprofit, governmental, and private sector leaders from around the world came together Sept. 25 during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York to announce major commitments in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The pledges are part of the U.S. government’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge, a year-long global effort that seeks to maintain the momentum generated by the General Assembly's unprecedented high-level meeting on AMR in 2016. Leaders hope to intensify the fight against one of the world’s top public health threats.
Co-hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the CDC Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust, the event kicked off the AMR Challenge “commitment year.” Over 100 organizations so far have announced commitments, including a range of specific actions intended to have a measurable impact in the fight against superbugs. Each must address at least one of five key areas identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those are:
- Reducing antibiotics in water, soil, and elsewhere in the environment.
- Improving antibiotic use, including ensuring people can access these medicines when needed.
- Developing new vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests.
- Improving infection prevention and control.
- Enhancing data sharing and data collection.
The CDC, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will continue to accept new commitments until September 2019.
Pew's AMR Challenge Commitment
The Pew Charitable Trusts has committed to three overarching goals as part of the AMR Challenge. Pew will work to:
- Improve the use of antibiotics in inpatient and outpatient health care settings by:
- Establishing data-driven national targets for antibiotic use in hospitals.
- Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor progress toward previously established national targets for antibiotic use in outpatient settings.
- Publishing research on how to facilitate implementation of antibiotic stewardship by primary care physicians.
- Ensure the judicious use of antibiotics in animal agriculture by:
- Developing sustainable antibiotic stewardship standards with regard to food animals.
- Publishing research on how management practices and antibiotic alternatives can reduce the need for animal antibiotic use.
- Facilitate efforts to discover and develop novel antibiotics by:
- Providing a publicly available data-sharing and analysis tool—the Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge (SPARK)—to help scientists collaborate on research into promising antibiotic compounds.
The AMR Challenge comes at a critical time. Although notable progress has been made since the U.N. General Assembly meeting two years ago, much more work is needed to tackle this urgent and growing global health threat. Combating antimicrobial resistance must remain a priority worldwide.
Pew looks forward to collaborating with challenge participants in this effort to slow the emergence of alarming new types of resistance and to ensure that effective antibiotics continue to be available to treat infections and deliver modern medical care.
Kathy Talkington directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotic resistance project.