Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens public health


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens public health


May 12, 2023

Global Korean Post


Antimicrobials, such as antibiotics, save lives every day. Without effective antimicrobials, common infections could become untreatable and even life-threatening for humans and animals.


While antimicrobials play a crucial role in the health of humans, animals, and plants, they can become less effective when the microbes that cause infections develop resistance to them. This process can be accelerated by the overuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals. Yet, despite their importance, most of the top pharmaceutical companies are no longer developing new antimicrobials, as the cost of investment in innovation heavily outweighs the financial return.


In 2018, it was estimated that more than 5,400 Canadians die every year from infections caused by bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics and that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) costs our healthcare system $1.4 billion. AMR is clearly an urgent and growing threat to global health, with wide-spread socio-economic impacts.


Globally, AMR is a leading cause of death and is associated with close to five million annual deaths, more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, or breast cancer. If left unaddressed, AMR could bring a return to an era where modern-day life-saving medical procedures, such as cancer treatments and joint replacements, would no longer be possible due to the risk of untreatable infection.


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared AMR one of the top ten public health threats facing humanity.

AMR threatens human and animal health, the environment, food and nutrition security and safety, economic development.

An estimated 4.95 million deaths worldwide were associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, including 1.27 million deaths directly attributable to resistance.