By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Several dozen groups representing pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies, scientists, patients, public health professionals, and others have asked Congress for a significant increase in federal investments for agencies and programs that address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In letters sent to the House and Senate, the coalition called for a “One Health” approach, taking into consideration environmental, animal, and human factors that influence AMR, using research, innovation, surveillance, and stewardship tactics.

“Drug-resistant infections sicken at least 2.8 million people and kill at least 35,000 people in the United States each year. Antibiotic resistance accounts for direct healthcare costs of at least $20 billion,” the coalition wrote. “Globally, over 700,000 people die each year, accounting for a cost as high as $1.2 trillion. If we do not act now, antibiotic-resistant infections will be the leading cause of death by 2050 and could cost the world $100 trillion.”

The coalition, which includes groups such as the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, requested more money for relevant federal agencies such as the CDC, the FDA, the NIH, and the Department of Agriculture to better manage the problem domestically. On a global scale, the coalition asked the Departments of Defense and State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to boost investments in research to prevent the spread of AMR in low-income countries.

“Addressing AMR is central to strengthening our preparedness for future public health emergencies, as patients with respiratory infections, serious wounds or burns, or other conditions requiring hospitalization are all at risk for secondary resistant infections,” the coalition concluded. “For example, seriously ill COVID-19 patients, particularly those requiring mechanical ventilation, are at heightened risks for secondary resistant infections. Very high levels of antibiotic use among patients with COVID-19 may also have created new resistance threats we have not yet identified.”

For more on this and related topics, be sure to read the latest issues of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention and Infectious Disease Alert. Additionally, listen to Episode 1 and Episode 3 of the Rounds with Relias podcast series.