This week the AMR Centre (@LSHTM_AMR) raised its own Twitter storm by sending out questions on antimicrobial resistance as part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (#WAAW2020). On the day, 17,280 people viewed our tweets and there were 873 engagements.
Our first question was around barriers to the discovery of new antimicrobials. It seems that antimicrobials are not very hard to find, but that new funding models need to be considered to get them to patients – see here for a discussion on this topic by @LSHTM_AMR members. One interesting point raised was whether the money spent on COVID-19 could, in the long run, have had more of an impact if it had been spent on antimicrobials?
Moving from drugs to WASH, we asked Twitter how important these interventions and behaviour change could be for AMR control. It’s almost unanimous that WASH improvements will be helpful in preventing AMR, but we need more evidence. Some results are coming soon from @LSHTM_AMR members but we’ll need to closely monitor this in the face of #COVID-19 changes and increased hygiene.
The third question revolved around rapid diagnostic test for AMR. Again, we are all in agreement that context is so important – will rapid diagnostic tests or whole genome sequencing work in settings where basic microbiology is already difficult to do? For more on the impact of rapid diagnostics, see the AMRC’s latest very interesting seminar from our very own @glover_lshtm.
Decision making around resource usage often relies on priority lists. Our next question to Twitter was whether the priority pathogen list from the @WHO is sufficient to address the challenges of AMR. As has been discussed in a previous newsletter, there is a feeling that Mycobacterium tuberculosis should be more emphasised in this WHO list and this was echoed on Twitter. We also need to think about how to measure and then prioritise AMR burden, and what about those resistant bugs not on these lists?
Finally, we couldn’t not speak to how #COVID-19 is going to affect AMR. We hope to have something out on this soon (watch this space) but as the data starts to be published check out the collection here. The newest data coming out from English Primary care suggests that antibiotic use has dramatically fallen – fingers crossed for a decline in resistance without any unintended consequences.
There cannot be any complacency as to the need for global action.
With your help, we can plug critical gaps in the understanding of COVID-19. This will support global response efforts and help to save lives around the world.