Menu Report

How can we help?

Are the antimicrobials used in animals identical to those used in treating infections for humans?

Numerous microbes (i.e., bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) affect both humans and animals and therefore require similar treatment. As such, some of the antimicrobials are indeed identical. One example can be found in Listeria contamination; Listeria is associated with clinical diseases in ruminant (e.g encephalitis abortion, septicaemia) and can be transmitted to humans through animal products such as meat. In order to treat the bacteria in both humans and animals, the most effective antibiotic is ampicillin which can be used alone or in combination with other antibiotics (Temple and Nahata, 2000).

Sources: WHO

What can veterinarians do to help tackle AMR?

In the EU, as per the new rules adopted by the European Parliament in 2018, antimicrobials must be limited to a single animal and justified by a veterinarian. An exception exists only when there is a high risk of infection; in this case, collective treatment is permitted if no suitable alternatives exist. As the ones in charge of making the decision to use or not use the antimicrobial, veterinarians can find out more about what they can do here.

Why are there so few new antibiotics being produced?

Developing a new antibiotic is time consuming, costly and, most of all, not guaranteed to succeed. As such, it is a risky endeavour for pharmaceutical companies to partake in. Furthermore, with AMR on the rise, newly developed antibiotics should be preserved except for when absolutely needed. Because of these constraints, the market for them is shrinking. All of this makes the development of new antibiotics unattractive for the private sector.

A number of companies are producing antibiotics (IFPMA, 2015) (Access to Medicine Foundation, 2018), but many of these are only variations on existing antibiotics. Such ventures are a safer bet for companies to invest in because less research is needed and approvals are faster due to similarities to existing approved drugs. However, these slightly modified antibiotics only overcome resistance for a short period of time.

If AMR has already been an emerging issue for a long time, why are governments taking so long to act?

There are a number of reasons why governments are slow to react to AMR. For one, AMR is a very complex issue due to its global and multisectoral nature and simple national policy cannot have a strong effect on it. Furthermore, even if there is political will, the public has yet to seize the AMR issue wholeheartedly and demand concrete action from their governments. (Wellcome Trust Fund, 2019).