The new WHO report highlights progress and unmet needs for a strong pipeline of antibiotic combating antimicrobial resistance

Although the R&D pipeline for new antibiotics is small and access to both new and existing therapies remains difficult, antimicrobial resistance was linked to approximately 5 million fatalities in 2019.
For the benefit of the G7 Finance and Health Ministers, WHO and the Global antimicrobial resistance R&D Hub have published a study outlining the development of incentives for the creation of novel antimicrobial drugs. In order to solve issues and enhance coordination and collaboration in global antimicrobial resistance R&D adopting a One Health concept, nations, non-governmental donor organizations, and intergovernmental organizations have formed the Global antimicrobial resistance R&D Hub.

The report is a result of commitments made by the G7 Finance and Health Ministers in 2021 and 2022 to speed up the implementation of current antimicrobial resistance strategies, take additional measures to address antibiotic market failure, create economic conditions to preserve the efficacy of necessary existing antibiotics and ensure their access, strengthen antimicrobial resistance Research and Development, and bring novel antibacterial medicines that address public health needs to market.

‘We reiterate our commitments building on the G7 Finance Ministers’ Statement of December 2021 on actions to support antimicrobial development and support the ongoing work of the G7 Health, Finance, Agriculture, and Environment Tracks on antimicrobial resistance, including exploring the possibility of international collaboration on pull’, the G7 Finance Ministers stated in their communiqué following their 2023 meeting. In this regard, we appreciate the WHO and Global antimicrobial resistance R&D Hub’s AMR progress report for this year. We continue to expand upon and put into practice earlier pledges made by the G7 Finance and Health Ministers to strengthen antibiotic innovation.

‘To this end, we continue to commit to exploring and implementing push and pull incentives that promote investment in R&D of antimicrobials, including contributing to existing global pooled efforts, such as CARB-X, GARDP, and SECURE, at the earliest opportunity and within reasonable and feasible timelines,’ the G7 Health Ministers communiqué said, amplifying the commitment. Along with investing in R&D, we will support strategies that address the antimicrobial pipeline, safeguard existing antimicrobials and work to maximize their effectiveness through antimicrobial stewardship for responsible and appropriate use, diagnostics to support effective stewardship, and safe disposal of antimicrobials in both human and animal systems, in line with the One Health approach.

Antimicrobial resistance continues to rank among the top 10 worldwide public health hazards to humanity, killing 4.95 million people in 2019. Antimicrobial resistance poses a threat to the world economy as well, with effects on expected global trade, health care expenses, and productivity. By 2050, antimicrobial resistance could have cost the global economy USD 100 trillion if nothing is done.

The R&D pipeline for novel antibacterial medications is not sufficient to address the problem of the rising incidence and spread of antibiotic resistance, according to the WHO’s yearly review of antibacterial compounds in clinical and preclinical research. Additionally, it is difficult for nations of all income levels to find and obtain new and existing antibiotics, especially generic versions. The world is currently experiencing a significant antibiotic pipeline and access crisis that calls for creative finance strategies, according to the Global Leaders Group on antimicrobial resistance, a group of international leaders and professionals from several industries working together to accelerate political action on antimicrobial resistance.

The G7 nations have made significant strides toward promoting research and development, especially through increasing investments and developing new incentive systems. But present initiatives are still insufficient to address the crisis of access to and pipeline for antibiotics. Particularly, there aren’t enough initiatives to provide fair access to antibiotics in low- and middle-income nations, where antimicrobial resistance is most prevalent.

In order to hasten progress over the following two years, the report suggests a list of priorities measures. These include promoting coordination and targeted action on financing mechanisms to address the antibiotic R&D and access crisis, working toward pertinent commitments and targets for the high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance at the UN General Assembly in 2024, and supporting equitable and global access to antibiotics addressing the most urgent public health needs.

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