India joins global research hub on antimicrobial resistance

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    26th Sep, 2019

Context

India has become a part of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub in 2019.

About

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global, multi-sectoral issue that affects all countries and requires coherent, comprehensive action in human, animal, plant and environmental health in the framework of a One Health approach
  • AMR is a cause of worry in developing nations, including India, where the burden of infectious disease is high and healthcare spending is low (1.5% of GDP in case of India).
  • India is the largest consumer of antibiotics in the world — consumption increased by 103 per cent from 2000 to 2015, the highest in low and middle-income countries.
  • Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub was launched during the 71st session of the World Health Assembly in 2018.
  • The hub is aimed at helping countries decide the allocation of resources for research and development (R&D) on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by identifying gaps and overlaps. It will also promote coordination among governments in the fight against AMR.
  • According to the WHO more than 700,000 peopledie from AMR infections globally and the number is expected to spike to more than 10 million deaths each year, if proper action is not taken.
  • The membership to the Hub, headquartered in Germany, is open to countries as well as philanthropic foundations.

Concerns for India in AMR

  • India also does not have a national plan or system for monitoring sales and use of antimicrobials in animals and plants.
  • A survey conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to be a problem across the world, and most countries, including India, have not done well to address it.
  • India has no regulations in place to prevent environmental contamination. India has no comprehensive systems for waste management of antibiotics. A study conducted recently in northern India has shown the presence of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria in a healthy human gut. India needs to do more to protect the environment from the hazards of antimicrobial production.

 Reasons for the widespread presence of AMR

  • Irrational use of antibiotics as doctors these days prescribe antibiotic doses for all kinds of infection including common cold
  • Self-medication by patients as they buy fixed-drug combinations from healthcare practitioners.

What advantages India is served in joining the Hub?

  • A successful response to AMR will address not only antimicrobials but also diagnostics, vaccines and alternatives to antibiotics for human and animal health. It requires collective efforts towards research and development (R&D).
  • There are multiple challenges in research and development (R&D) and to access to AMR- related health technologies, and there are gaps to be addressed in the current response.
    • Funding of R&D for priorities that are underfunded should be increased and optimized, and R&D should be coordinated to ensure appropriate priority setting, funding allocation and unproductive duplication of activities.
    • There are no global access initiatives on AMR beyond those related to HIV, TB and malaria, in which a more concerted effort and coordination among initiatives is required, and there is little consideration of gaps in access in animal, plant and environmental health.
    • Further guidance should be given to funders on investing in AMR in order to maximize the impact of their investments in meeting the challenges of R&D and access.
    • More work is required to operationalize the One Health approach in AMR R&D and access
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