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15th October 2019
Soon enough? UK progress on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Three years on, where have we got to, in tackling AMR?

This was the key question at the launch of a progress review by Chatham House of the 2016 O’Neill ‘Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’. The launch was held at the Royal Society of Arts in central London on 8 October.  And the conclusion was ‘not as far as we could / should / would be, if…’

There has clearly been impressive progress in the agricultural sector, reducing antibiotic use in (most) fields in (most) high-income countries. Some early-stage research and monitoring has benefited from increased investment. There has been progress evident in awareness-raising but the cause of AMR still lacks impact, when compared to, climate change, for example. It was ironic that the impact of the “Extinction Rebellion” demonstration taking place outside the venue, which hampered delegates getting there and even delayed the arrival of the paper copies of the review.

Far less progress has been made in other key recommendations by Jim O’Neill. There is a long way to go in reducing agricultural use of antibiotics in LMICs, nor of tackling the problem through improved infection control measures, water, sanitation or housing provision. Likewise little progress on restricting over-the-counter sales in LMICs. Crucially there has been little evidence of stimulating new antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics. At the launch we heard world-wide views from an expert panel on what should be achieved next, but little concensus.

In The Bloomsbury SET we have invested in several cross-College Knowledge Exchange projects in vaccines, diagnostics and modelling AMR which will help advance towards all the key goals set out by O’Neill.

We hope it will be soon enough.

The event was attended on behalf of The Bloomsbury SET KE platform by Mark Smith. Further reading at AMR Insights, a Dutch-based organisation we’re delighted to work with, including a summary by the Chatham House Review author, Charles Clift: