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Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

WHAT IS ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE - EXPLAINER VIDEO

The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the critical importance of treatments for infectious disease, as many related deaths and severe cases involve not only the virus, but also superimposed bacterial infections (sometimes hospital acquired “superbugs”). Antibiotics and antifungal medicines play an important role in the treatment of patients suffering from a pandemic, but our supply of effective medicines is dwindling due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  

AMR is a threat to all of us, especially those with chronic conditions. Without effective antimicrobial medicines, patients lose not just treatments for serious infections, but they also face significantly increased risks from many medical services that rely upon the effective prevention and treatment of infections.

This includes:

organ transplantation

cancer treatments

major surgeries 
like joint replacements

care of preterm infants and immunocompromised patients

other vulnerable patients

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today, more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. And according to a recent GAO report , this may actually be an underestimate of the problem.

The goals of the PFID include:

Advocating for policy changes that would help activate and support research and development of new antimicrobial treatments to treat drug-resistant infections. 

Motivating broad change in the way antimicrobial medicines are prescribed, accessed, consumed, monitored, and paid for.  

Reinforcing awareness among all public and private stakeholders about the need for a pipeline of new antimicrobial medicines, the need for access to our existing medicines by providers and patients, the challenges of antimicrobial resistance to the practice of modern medicine, and AMR’s threat to the health of every person.

Modern medicine is increasingly recognized worldwide for its life-saving innovations. Our ability to treat and cure both minor ailments and major diseases has rapidly increased, improving quality of life for people across the globe. A common factor making many of these advances possible has been our ability to prevent and cure infections. Antibiotics have long underpinned modern medicine, helping stave off infections and mitigate risk for those undergoing surgeries and other medical procedures. Vaccines, hygeine, and behavioral changes have helped people avoid becoming infected and spreading infectious agents, extending life expectancy and enhancing the quality of life worldwide.

​Now, as we navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are simultaneously confronted with a troubling outlook for the future. Effective treatments to stave off life-threatening infections are essential in addressing the health threats associated with pandemics like COVID-19. As we navigate our world in the COVID-19 era, it becomes increasingly clear that we must also take steps to ensure that we are prepared for the next pandemic including promoting new antibiotic development. 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the next public health emergency.

The antibiotics we have relied on for decades are beginning to fail us. Common infections are increasingly difficult to treat and the numbers of new drugs under development are declining due to a combination of negative market signals and manufacturer bankruptcies.

However, unlike the surprise emergence of COVID-19, we can observe rising trends in antibiotic resistant infections now. Currently, according to the CDC, more than 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections occur in the U.S. every year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. We need policymakers to prioritize this threat so we can be prepared for another global pandemic. Recently, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced legislation to “encourage innovative drug development targeting the most threatening infections, improve the appropriate use of antibiotics, and ensure domestic availability when needed.”

AMR is an increasingly important issue, and voters recognize the urgency. In a recent poll of likely voters, 65% of respondents said they would be more likely to support a political candidate who supports making the development of new antibiotics a priority.

Among the key lessons we’ve learned during COVID-19 is that preparation can save lives. It’s just as important for the next pandemic as it is for the current one.

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About PFID

Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease is a group of patients, providers, community organizations, academic researchers, business and labor groups, and infectious disease experts working to raise awareness of threats posed by infectious disease, as well as advance solutions to ensure future pandemic preparedness.

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