Can WHO’s pandemic instrument be designed to address a wider range of pandemic threats? The Policy Accelerator advises on how the pandemic instrument could be made more comprehensive.
Startling new findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study estimate that 4.95 million deaths were associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, including 1.27 million deaths directly attributable to bacterial AMR. These findings further underline the need for a coordinated global response to effectively address AMR.
Our best chance of mitigating the impact of this deadly pandemic may be the WHO’s international treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response currently under negotiation. Although this new treaty is currently focused on combatting novel zoonotic threats that resemble the COVID-19 pandemic, measures needed to address AMR and zoonotic threats overlap significantly meaning a few additions to the treaty would address both pandemic threats. As COVID-19 has shown, future pandemic threats will be complicated by growing antimicrobial resistance. For this reason, the pandemic treaty must also address AMR in order to be truly comprehensive.
Global Strategy Lab’s analysis shared with the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against AMR looked at how a pandemic instrument could be extended to comprehensively address both global health threats. It found:
- The effort to address both AMR and zoonoses overlap significantly, meaning negotiations that have initially been focused on zoonotic threats simply require small adjustments to combat AMR for greater impact.
- Changes to address AMR will further strengthen efforts against a zoonotic pandemic. These dual-purpose provisions would synergistically promote a) equitable access to medical countermeasures, b) globally integrated One Health surveillance and monitoring systems, and c) increased technical and laboratory capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
- A comprehensive pandemic instrument could also include provisions to safeguard the effectiveness of antimicrobial medicines. Such efforts would especially benefit from strengthened global governance and help manage the spread and severity of future zoonotic pandemics.
Including AMR in Pandemic Instrument Design: Opportunities and Challenges