Wellcome statement for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Ahead of this years World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Head of Intervention in Wellcome's Infectious Disease team, discusses the growing risk of drug-resistant infections and what is required to combat this global threat.

Timothy Jinks, Head of Intervention at Wellcome, said: “The growing risk of drug-resistant infections caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health. Despite much discussion about what might cause the next pandemic, drug resistance too rarely features on the global political agenda.  

“An estimated 4.95 million deaths each year worldwide are associated with AMR – more than malaria and HIV/AIDS – and this number is rising. Most of the burden of drug resistance falls on those in low-resource settings, further exacerbated by poor sanitation, hygiene and access to clean water, but it poses a risk to us all.  Without urgent action we are facing a world where routine medical procedures, births, and STIs could lead to life-threatening infections and vital advances in cancer treatment are lost. 

“If we are to avoid this devastating future, global commitment and sustained investment for AMR research is key – from developing novel antibiotics and innovative tools to track trends and outbreaks, to increasing our understanding of socioeconomic factors that lead to inappropriate antibiotic use. It is only with this knowledge that we can sustainably and effectively respond to the rise and spread of drug resistant infections and protect those most vulnerable.”