Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance – or AMR - is a major global health challenge. The ability of microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, to develop resistance to antibiotics and antivirals threatens many of the gains made in global health over recent decades. 

Ongoing

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is defined as the resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial treatment to which it was previously sensitive.

We see AMR develop in bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Existing antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic drugs are made ineffective by AMR with use over time. Although AMR occurs naturally in microbes and cannot be eliminated, practices for treating human infections and misuse of antimicrobials in agriculture both accelerate the development of AMR, and these can be improved to preserve our existing antimicrobial treatments for longer. 

In recent years, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognised as a serious global threat, and one of the most critical health challenges of our time.  Each year, at least 700,000 people die worldwide due to drug resistant infections in diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS.

If no action is taken, it has been predicted that by 2050 the number of deaths related to AMR will increase to 10 million people a year. This will make even routine minor surgeries and other medical practices, including chemotherapy, a serious risk. Therefore, AMR has been deemed a research priority which must be tackled internationally.

Without research into surveillance and diagnosis techniques, new treatments, and international shifts in practices for using existing treatments, the world risks facing a crisis in multi-drug resistant microbial infections. 

This page outlines the Academy’s activities that address AMR. 

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