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Government publishes new five-year plan to combat AMR

The government has announced its new national action plan on antimicrobial resistance to protect people and animals from the risk of drug-resistant infections. The new document builds on the progress made in the previous five-year national action plan and supports the 20-year vision to contain and control AMR by 2040.

The new plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance commits the UK to reducing its use of antimicrobials - such as antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals - in humans and animals, strengthen surveillance of drug-resistant infections before they emerge and incentivise industry to develop the next generation of treatments.

It commits to continue to innovate through initiatives such as indicating that that the world-first ‘subscription model’ for antimicrobials, which was launched in 2019 as a pilot, could be expanded. This will see more companies paid a fixed annual fee for antimicrobials based primarily on their value to the NHS, as opposed to the volumes used.

The plan will build on progress towards the UK’s 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance, which will see AMR contained, controlled and mitigated - protecting public health by increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability and death. 

This is the second of a series of five-year national action plans that will ensure sustained progress by tackling the global threat of AMR. Learning from the achievements and challenges faced in delivering the previous plan, which was launched in 2019, this new national action plan will run from 2024 to 2029. It embeds lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and will include specific commitments focusing on infection prevention and control, and the development and use of diagnostics and vaccines. Action has already been taken across sectors, including the medical and farming industries, to decrease the number of infections and prevent AMR from spreading.

The new plan has nine strategic outcomes organised under four themes:

  1. Reducing the need for, and unintentional exposure to, antimicrobials - this includes activity to prevent infections arising in the first place (through good infection prevention and control, including vaccination), to monitor the emergence and spread of AMR through strengthened surveillance, and to minimise release of antimicrobials and resistance into the environment.
  2. Optimising the use of antimicrobials - through ensuring antimicrobials are only used when needed in humans, animals and the environment.
  3. Investing in innovation, supply and access - by supporting and incentivising the development of new vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics (including alternatives to antimicrobials), making them accessible to those who need them, and ensuring our work on AMR is informed by cutting edge research.
  4. Being a good global partner - maintaining the UK’s role as an international leader on AMR and supporting low and middle income countries to respond to the threat of AMR through research, good supply chains and access to antibiotics.

UK Special Envoy on AMR, Dame Sally Davies, commented: “It is incomprehensible for any of us to imagine a world without effective antibiotics. But we are facing an antibiotic emergency already. And this menace is deeply unfair - with the burden disproportionately falling on the world’s most vulnerable, in low and middle income countries and also children. We have to work together, across the world, with those countries that need action the most, to make progress and contain AMR.”

Read the full document here: The UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029.

 

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