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May 13, 2021

GHTC delivered the following statement, on the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda item 13.5, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), on May 13, 2021 at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) WHA stakeholder listening session:

The Global Health Technologies Coalition appreciates the opportunity to comment on the antimicrobial resistance agenda item ahead of the World Health Assembly. 

The pandemic has exacerbated the fight against AMR, as COVID-19 and other competing global priorities are reducing activities aimed to address AMR while increasing the use of antibiotics. Secondary infections further complicate treatment for patients with COVID-19, particularly those with severe illness. Health services including treatment and immunization campaigns have been disrupted, research and clinical trials have stalled, and investments have been reallocated. This has increased the risk of greater antimicrobial misuse and resistance globally, with fewer tools to address this growing threat.

The WHO director-general’s report highlights that there is a critical need for additional financing to strengthen country and regional office technical capacities to control the emergence and spread of AMR and to invest in global research and development (R&D). More resources are needed to strengthen access and stewardship of existing and new health technologies in countries with high AMR burdens.

We call on all on the US to increase investment and innovation in quality-assured, new, and improved antimicrobials, novel compounds, diagnostics, vaccines, and other health technologies to fight AMR. There are few new antibiotics in clinical development and waning private investment, and we must take urgent action to support the fragile antibiotic pipeline. Innovations should be developed with the most vulnerable populations in mind and be appropriate and accessible to all who need them, including for those in low-resource settings.

To increase investment in the clinical development of antimicrobial treatments and diagnostic tools, we also urge the US and other stakeholders to advance policies necessary to revitalize discovery and product development. Incentives for R&D that secure both stewardship and returns and public investments should be conditioned upon the accessibility of novel technologies to fight AMR.