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Why antibiotics are becoming less effective – the One Health approach

Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective.

This is because bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi are evolving to outsmart the drugs used to kill them.

Scientists call this process antimicrobial resistance – or AMR.

AMR is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but the way we are using antibiotics is making it worse.

The World Health Organization says significant public health measures are needed to slow down and contain AMR.

If nothing is done, modern medicine could enter a post-antibiotic era.

Routine medical interventions could become life-threatening.

And life-saving treatments could become useless.

Several issues drive the emergence and spread of AMR:

  • The over-prescribing and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals
  • A lack of new antibiotics and drugs for viruses, parasites and fungi
  • And the absence of critically important vaccines. 

Tackling AMR requires collaboration between those responsible for managing risks to the health of humans, animals and the environment.

This is called the One Health approach.

The One Health approach has been gaining significant momentum over the past five years.

The risk of current antimicrobial drugs becoming useless is serious.

Addressing the underlying issues should remain a top priority for governments, business leaders and research communities.

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