Commit to Action: What You Can Do to Slow Antimicrobial Resistance

Michael Craig

This is the fourth installment in a blog series about awareness of antibacterial resistance in recognition of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 12-18, 2018. Check back for more blog posts soon!

Which of our interventions, devices, and cures could save lives from antimicrobial resistance (AMR)? What roadblocks are keeping us from making the next groundbreaking discovery to combat AMR? What investments would stop its spread?

Over the next year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is asking leaders around the world to commit to action in one of these areas and join The AMR Challenge. We need your help.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest public health threats of our time. It risks all of the progress public health, modern medicine, and food production have made to improve quality of life around the world. Time is running out and our medicine cabinet will soon be bare; what will happen when we face an epidemic of completely untreatable infections?

Fortunately, great progress has been made in containing the spread of AMR in recent years. Here in the U.S., investments in AMR from Congress have helped CDC build an innovative domestic infrastructure to detect threats and contain their spread. However, much more needs to be done, and we all have a role to play to take meaningful actions to continue to move the needle.

How can you lead? Consider your work and the following One Health areas where action is needed to combat the threat:

  • Tracking and data—How can new or reimagined data help us stay ahead of antibiotic resistance?
  • Infection prevention and control—Which actions are needed to better prevent infections and reduce the spread of germs?
  • Antibiotic use—What action or research is needed to improve the use of antibiotics wherever they are used, including ensuring access to these critical drugs?
  • Environment and sanitation—Where are antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant threats present in the environment, and what actions stop the spread?
  • Vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics—Which vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics need to be developed for better prevention, treatment, and detection of AMR threats?

AMR is a priority at CDC and in the U.S. In addition to embarking on this global initiative, CDC is also heavily investing to find solutions to the challenges of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. In 2016 and 2017 alone, CDC invested more than $76 million for innovations with educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, state and local government, and private industry focused on new strategies that can protect people from the global threat of AMR, including support for drug and diagnostic development. By the end of 2018, with partners around the world, CDC will fund its largest portfolio of research to date to explore unanswered questions about possible connections between antibiotic resistance and humans, animals, and the environment.

More work can and is being done across the world to combat this threat. This week is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, an annual observance that raises awareness of the threat of AMR and the importance of improving antibiotic use. We hope you’ll use this week as a time to consider how you might join the AMR Challenge, and help us keep the momentum moving throughout the year. We’re all in; are you?


Michael Craig, MPP, is Senior Advisor for Antibiotic Resistance, Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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