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Changes vital to combating antimicrobial resistance, say academies

Science and medical academies worldwide have called for a rethink of how research into curbing antimicrobial resistance is carried out, and for novel ideas for fundamental science and collaborative R&D models.

The number of pathogens—bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi—resistant to antimicrobial drugs has increased dramatically worldwide, while few alternative drugs have been found. In a joint statement released on 18 November, the IAP, a global network of science academies, and the Interacademy Medical Panel write that urgent action is needed to avoid going back to a “pre-antibiotic era”.

“Doing better in generating and using research requires new insights and new structures” to build scientific and surveillance programmes, including joint research programmes involving private and public partners, the statement says. As far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned, “innovative funding mechanisms should be explored, to decouple return on investment from volume of sales, thereby encouraging knowledge sharing and helping to ensure affordable access to treatment.”

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