To mark the occasion of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, held between 18-24 November each year, Pfizer hosted a virtual media roundtable to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Attended by medical professionals Professor Abdulrazaq Garba Habib and Professor Aaron Oladipo Aboderin, the roundtable saw participants discuss the dangers of AMR, besides what can be done to address and prevent AMR. AMR occurs when antibiotics lose their effectiveness as pathogens find ways to resist their effects.
The more an antibiotic is used, the more pressure bacteria have to develop resistance.1 A silent killer, AMR is one of the biggest threats to global health today. Today it accounts for 700,000 deaths annually,2 and by 2050 it could take 10 million lives globally each year – more than currently die from cancer.
Professor Abdulrazaq Garba Habib, commented: “Antimicrobial medicines are amongst the most precious medical resources the world has ever known.3 Alarmingly, they are losing their effectiveness.1 With especially low awareness among the public on the dangers of AMR, it is our responsibility as the medical community to educate patients about the condition. Much like COVID-19, AMR pathogens can spread far and with speed, impacting people of all ages.4 There is a significant need for strong public health and prevention measures and extensive surveillance to help curb its spread.”6
Professor Aaron Oladipo Aboderin, commented: “With a high cost to individual health and the wider economy, AMR is a critical risk if left unaddressed. Should AMR pathogens spread the way COVID-19 has, we will be facing another public health crisis. Today’s roundtable and similar forums are essential to raising awareness of the threats facing us if we do not invest in the development of medicines now to help prevent AMR.”3
Dr. Kodjo Soroh, Medical Director East & Anglo West Africa Pfizer, commented: “AMR if left unchecked could lead to a scenario in which minor infections become life-threatening, while serious infections become impossible to treat. Despite the many challenges associated with developing anti-infectives, at Pfizer, we remain committed to our R&D efforts to deliver new and effective anti-infective therapies which target newly emerging and difficult to treat infections. Despite this, Pfizer remains committed to patients suffering from infectious diseases. In 2020 alone, 28 million patients were treated with a Pfizer anti-infective therapy – a number we expect to grow in the future.”5
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the social and economic hardships of infectious diseases. It reinforces the continuous need for new innovations and breakthroughs.