Antimicrobial Resistance


Antimicrobial Resistance

We contribute to understanding the causes and risk factors for antimicrobial resistance, and to developing new drugs and vaccines.

Resistance to antimicrobial drugs threatens seriously progresses made to improve global health in the past decades.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health crisis with extensive health, economic and societal repercussions globally.

It is a natural process that occurs when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi evolve and no longer respond to antimicrobials that were effective against them. As a result, the antimicrobials become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

The abuse and misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs favors the development and spread of resistant microorganisms, and generates the need for alternative treatments that are effective against such pathogens. However, the number of new approved drugs is declining, with only three new antibiotics receiving approval in the last 30 years.

As the world moved from the Millennium Development to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), AMR appears as a critical element to consider if we are to improve and strengthen global health and security, hence, achieve sustainable development by 2030. As such, one of the greatest AMR challenges is certainly is threat on the United Nations SDGs as it has multidimensional repercussions on the animal, human and environmental health. For instance, in 2016 alone, 30% of global neonatal sepsis mortality was triggered by AMR, especially multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens such as Gram-negative bacteria (GNB). This shows that the ongoing problem of maternal and child mortality is aggravated by AMR and could not successfully being addressed if AMR is not adequately contained. Moreover, the AMR challenge is substantially exacerbated in low-and-middle income countries where the high burden of infectious diseases coupled with sub-optimal hygiene and sanitation, and other challenges such as limited access to healthcare settings, conflicts, poverty, etc., prevail and engender extensive antibiotic consumption and subsequent resistance. A 2016’s World Bank report estimated that decline in global food production could range between 2.6-7.5% of food products and LMICs will be the most affected with 11% loss in a simulation of worst AMR impact scenario. This suggests that if nothing is done to significantly address this threat, the socio-economic development of several countries, particularly those in the developing world that relies mainly on agriculture and food production, will be seriously impeded, along with the achievement of some world’s SDGs. These examples reveal at sufficiency the necessity to contain AMR if we are to achieve the 2030 SDGs.

Dr Luria Leslie Founou, Researcher of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Infectious Diseases Programme

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health crisis with extensive health, economic and societal repercussions globally. As such, one of the greatest AMR challenges is certainly is threat on the United Nations SDGs. As AMR is a quintessential One Health issue, it is only a One Health approach that is likely to succeed to contain this threat.

  • 700,000 People die every year across the world from infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria
  • 100 Trillion USD Cumulative global economy loss over the 35 next years will be attributable to AMR if considerable efforts are not sustainably implemented
  • 4 Millions People will prematurely die every year from drug-resistant strains of common bacterial infections, HIV, TB and malaria in Africa by 2050

The real implications of spreading drug resistance will be felt across the world, with developing countries bearing the brunt of this problem. Minor infections and routine surgeries will become life-threatening once again, jeopardizing thereby the hard won victories against infectious diseases of the last decades. Hospital stays and expenses, for both public health care providers and for out of –pocket payers will increase significantly.

Drug resistant infections are already on the rise with numbers suggesting that up to 25,000 lives are lost each year to antibiotic-resistant infections in Europe and the US alone. Globally, at least 700,000 die each year of drug resistance in illnesses such as bacterial infections, malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

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