In the background of COVID-19, there is another silent pandemic growing – the threat of antimicrobial resistance. In vitro diagnostics are vital in the fight against AMR, ensuring appropriate administration of antibiotics and reducing their misuse.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is creating a future that no science fiction novels had predicted; a future looking more like a distant past, where even minor injuries could lead to life-threatening infections and where modern medicine disappears. While humans are excellent at dealing with urgent situations, sadly we tend to overlook slow threats. Indeed, in the background of COVID-19, a silent pandemic is still growing but few are taking note.
In 2016, Lord Jim O’Neill made 10 key recommendations to slow down the AMR crisis and qualified diagnostics as the single biggest potential game changer in the fight against AMR. He suggested that, by 2020, all developed economies should make it mandatory to use recognised diagnostic tests before antibiotics can be given1 – in case you were wondering, no country has met this recommendation. His approach was ambitious and highlighted that it is not all about developing new therapeutics, but also preserving the antimicrobials we have available in our arsenal today for future generations.
There are several reasons why bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, but widespread overuse and incorrect prescribing practices are major culprits. Proper utilisation of diagnostic tests allows the appropriate administration of antibiotics, reducing their misuse and potentially decreasing overall healthcare costs.
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