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Antimicrobial Resistance explainer

06 May 2020 publication

In 2015 the United Nations (UN) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of targets for the world to achieve by 2030. AMR is a very real threat to achieving the UN SDGs, particularly those associated with poverty, food production, the environment and sustainable economic growth.

AMR is a naturally occurring process, whereby micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) can change and adapt over time, either by modifying the target of the antimicrobial, or by developing and exchanging resistance genes. Resistance occurs due to the selective pressure that antimicrobials put on microbes. However, the sustained used of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants, is speeding up the process. The incidence of AMR is also rapidly increasing in frequency and geographical spread, due to the globalisation of travel and trade; thus triggering a global problem. AMR a multi-faceted issue that spans multiple SDGs and which requires  multi-disciplinary approaches for the effective control of its spread, for which microbiologists can offer significant value.

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