Antibiotic Resistance - A Global Problem

Today, The Lancet Infectious Diseases Commission on Antibiotic Resistance led by Otto Cars from the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control has published "Antibiotic resistance—the need for global solutions." The stated goal of this 42-page tour-de-force is to "explore why antibiotic resistance has become such a problem worldwide, and, most importantly, propose solutions to avert the impending crisis."  The Commission is broken down into nine parts with each group of authors responsible for their individual sections. I've pasted the table of contents to the right (click to enlarge). The document discusses antimicrobial use in humans and animals including stewardship, improved diagnostics (hopefully Dan will comment on part 3), novel therapeutics and antibacterial drug discovery.

The Commission is accompanied by 7 commentaries from the global community, which are each worth a read. All articles are free to access once you set up a username and password.

These documents are largely focused on antibacterial use and development, which are incredibly important global problems that will require collaborative responses at the local, national and international level.

But much like the recent Frontline documentary that, as Dan mentioned, did not have "enough discussion of the hard work of basic infection prevention," infection control is only briefly mentioned in the main document. (Section 2, page 7) You can get the sense of the Commission's approach with this quote: "From a resistance perspective, prevention reduces antibiotic use and the spread of resistant bacteria; however, prevention is not the main strategy to control resistance because antibiotic use also needs to be controlled."

Of course, "benchmarking (open comparison of health-care facilities) of frequencies of health-care-associated infections is useful." Yet public reporting is only useful as far as we have effective methods to prevent the reported infections.

Despite these minor quibbles, this is an incredibly timely and tremendously useful report. The authors and the Journal should be congratulated. Let's hope it moves the needle towards more recognition and funding for antimicrobial discovery, antibiotic stewardship, and perhaps... infection prevention?


  1. At the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2013, BMC's Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control will feature a commentary that was written after the 2013 World HAI Forum.
    As of 18-11-2013 (11:00 CET) you may find the commentary and an acompaning editorial at the following link:
    Huttner et al., commentary
    Mouton editorial

    Or go to the i-prevent blog at:

  2. This problem has been pointed out over and over again, when are solutions going to start surfacing?


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