The overlooked pandemic of antimicrobial resistance


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism to resist the effects of a drug making it less effective. Amidst the challenging estimates by unreliable data on resistance and infections from the poor countries disproportionately affected by AMR, data suggest AMR is a complex and leading public health threat of the 21st century.


Moreover, COVID-19 pandemic has drawn the attention and resources away from this bludgeoning issue of AMR overshadowing this badly. Scientists attempted to estimate the disease burden of 23 important pathogens in 204 countries and territories in 2019 based on two counterfactual scenarios: one in which all drug-resistant infections were replaced by drug-susceptible infections, and one in which all drug-resistant infections were replaced by no infection.


They reported 1·27 million deaths in 2019 directly attributable to resistance, the value that is nearly the same as global HIV deaths (680 000) and malaria deaths (627 000) combined and ranks behind only COVID-19 and tuberculosis in terms of global deaths from an infection.


They concluded that the true burden of AMR could be greater than the estimates and urged all the public health and political leaders at local, national, and international levels to take the global pandemic of AMR seriously.


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