An analysis covering more than 200 countries and territories published in The Lancet says antimicrobial resistance (AMR).is killing more people than HIV/Aids or malaria. Many hundreds of thousands of deaths are occurring due to common, previously treatable infections because bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.
It has become a leading cause of death worldwide and is killing about 3,500 people every day. More than 1.2 million – and potentially millions more – died in 2019 as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. In the western Europe region, which includes the UK, more than 51,000 people died as a direct result of AMR.HIV/Aids and malaria have been estimated to have caused 860,000 and 640,000 deaths, respectively, in 2019.
“These new data reveal the true scale of antimicrobial resistance worldwide, and are a clear signal that we must act now to combat the threat,” said the report’s co-author Prof Chris Murray, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The new Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (Gram) report estimates deaths linked to 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen-drug combinations across 204 countries and territories in 2019 using more than 470m individual records.
Regionally, deaths caused directly by AMR were estimated to be highest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, at 24 deaths per 100,000 population and 22 deaths per 100,000 population respectively. In high-income countries, AMR led directly to 13 deaths per 100,000 and was associated with 56 deaths per 100,000.
Tim Jinks, the head of the drug-resistant infections programme at Wellcome Trust, said, “Like Covid-19, we know what needs to be done to address AMR, but we must now come together with a sense of urgency and global solidarity if we are to be successful.”