Antimicrobial Resistance: a primer
(DFID - UK Department for International Development, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Antimicrobial Resistance: a primer

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a macro threat to the sustainability of the human race and other species. It is of a similar level to that of the worst impacts of climate change. Focus: Health, Macro, Climate, Biological, Behavioural, Physical, Financial, Incentives.

Summary: It's not just about drugs. This is a very extended, long shelf-life blog that gives you a detailed look into the issues involved in a particular transition theme. Why is so much longer than our normal “long blogs” - put simply, it needs to be. Sometimes simplifying is good, and sometimes there is no substitute for explaining something properly. Happy reading.

Why this is important: This is potentially a massive, if complex, investment theme for those who care about sustainability; the potential goes well beyond the pharma industry.

The big theme: Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a macro threat to the sustainability of the human race and other species. It is of a similar level to that of the worst impacts of climate change. Bringing together biological, behavioural, and physical solutions with appropriately incentivising funding we should be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of our microbe partners whilst avoiding their darker side.



The details


Why should we care about Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

As a child my knees, elbows and forearms were constantly grazed. A combination of regular school sports, playground ‘sports’ and just general clumsiness. I was fortunate never to have broken a bone (other than fingers during basketball) and never had any stays in hospital. The nearest I got to an anesthetic was a jab in my foot to have a verruca removed. I had colds of course and the various childhood diseases generously distributed at ‘pox parties’.

Before the discovery of antibiotics, bacterial illnesses such as pneumonia, TB and enteritis and even simple cuts and grazes could be fatal. In 1930, almost 300,000 Americans died of bacterial illnesses (22% of all deaths that year). By 1952, by which stage antibiotics were used widely, less than 95,000 Americans died from the same bacterial illnesses (6% of all deaths). The death rate from bacterial infections per 100,000 people fell from 216 in 1930 to 59.7 by 1952.

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