If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the devastating impact of not having treatment and prevention options for infectious diseases in a global, connected world. Many of us in the research community already knew that, but governments now appear to be acknowledging the interrelatedness of public health and economic wealth. As Professor Laura Piddock put it in this week’s Telegraph article, “global public health underpins the economy, not the other way around”.
AMR underpins global public health, and so it is welcome news to see it once again on the world stage, with a place on the G7 Summit agenda in June of this year. As the UK assumes the G7 presidency, and hosts the G7 Summit in Cornwall in June, we have an opportunity to make clear the importance and risks associated with AMR to global public health.
We already know that we can expect to see global health security and future pandemic preparedness on the high-level agenda. We also know that the health track - the meeting of health ministers – will focus on AMR. You can feed into the G7 process yourselves (perhaps by summarising your AMR work) and magnify the importance of academic research into AMR by emailing G7correspondence@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
While it is welcome news to see AMR on the agenda of a high-level international summit, it will be difficult to achieve any goals set at the G7 in an environment where future research is not funded and current research is cut. At the AMR Centre, we are gravely concerned about the impact of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding cuts. If you are similarly concerned, please consider reading (and signing) this petition on the subject and this open letter. You can also read LSHTM’s response to the cuts.
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.