WHO and CDC Present Strategies to Combat Anti-Microbial Resistance

Conference | <b>World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress</b>

Anti-microbial resistance is one of the most critical issues in healthcare, and the CDC and WHO addressed these concerns with plans to fight back against AMR at the annual world congress.

Today marked the beginning of the 2-day World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress (AMR). Held in-person in Washington, DC, it is the largest AMR conference in the world. AMR is a high priority for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and representatives from both organizations gave presentations on the strategies they have enacted to fight AMR.

Contagion is covering both days of the event; read on for highlighted presentations from WHO and the CDC.

Actions needed to increase the role of vaccines in preventing AMR: WHO strategy and activities

This presentation was given by Mateusz Hasso-Agopsowicz, Technical Officer for the World Health Organization (WHO). Hasso-Agopsowicz began by emphasizing the direness of AMR, as 2.4 million deaths are predicted across Europe, North America, and Australia from 2015-2050 due to AMR. Worldwide, 28 million people are anticipated to become impoverished due to AMR, and healthcare costs may increase by up to $1 trillion by 2050.

Hasso-Agopsowicz and WHO are working to spread the message that vaccines are crucial in the fight against AMR. WHO’s plan has 3 strategic goals: (1) expand the use of licensed vaccines to maximize impact on AMR, (2) develop new vaccines that contribute to prevention and control of AMR, and (3) expand and share knowledge of vaccine impact on AMR.

To meet these goals, WHO is supporting countries that are creating their own National Action Plans against AMR, as well as educating countries about which vaccine investments should be made to prevent AMR. Hasso-Agopsowicz encouraged understanding the landscape of licensed and developing vaccines that fight WHO priority pathogens, tuberculosis and C difficile.

The pandemic’s silver lining: Opportunities to improve IPC and AMR containment in low- and middle-income countries

Benjamin Park, Chief of the International Infection Control Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussed a potential benefit of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic: increased infection prevention and control (IPC) and AMR containment

Park focused on infections that the CDC designates as “critical,” the carbapenem-resistant species Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacteriaceae. Carbapenem-resistant organisms (CROs) are concerning because for many countries, carbapenems are the most powerful antibiotic available. Infection with a CRO has a mortality rate of over 50%, and these infections are nearly untreatable. CROs can spread between bacteria, between people (with and without symptoms), between facilities, and between countries.

IPC programs are clinical and public health specialties that enable healthcare systems to safely deliver care. Once identified, IPC teams contain the spread of dangerous, contagious pathogens. The outbreak of COVID-19 has motivated the CDC to improve IPC globally, but especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

A major post-COVID-19 development Park detailed was that the Global Fund is now available for IPC. The Global Fund is an international organization active in more than 100 countries, focused on AIDS, TB, and malaria. The Global Fund pools global resources to support local organizations, and recognizing that COVID-19 has devastated essential health services, the Global Fund has committed to make IPC funding available through Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

CROs continue to be a public health threat, especially in LMIC, and this disparity is increasing. Spreading across borders means all countries must work together to detect and contain dangerous pathogens at the source.