On 12–13 October 2017, in Berlin, Germany, FIND participated in an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Call to Action conference, organized by the Wellcome Trust, in partnership with the governments of the UK and Thailand, and the United Nations Foundation. The event convened a wide range of global AMR stakeholders, and was designed to accelerate ongoing activity and identify critical gaps.
AMR is recognised as a serious issue requiring urgent global action. Momentum was kick-started in 2015 with the endorsement of an AMR Global Action Plan by the World Health Assembly, and a subsequent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) AMR resolution in 2016 was followed by the establishment of an Inter-Agency Coordination Group on AMR in March 2017.
Mark Kessel, Chairman of the FIND Board of Directors, and Cassandra Kelly-Cirino, Head of AMR and Outbreaks at FIND, were in attendance at the Call to Action meeting.
“AMR threatens the bedrock of medicine. Treatments that we rely on for common conditions, ranging from tuberculosis to urinary tract infections, are ceasing to work,” said Dr Kelly-Cirino. “Tackling this life-threatening, multi-faceted problem requires a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach. Patients and healthcare providers need diagnostics to detect the cause of infection and ensure correct treatment – accurate, rapid and affordable diagnostics are vital.”
The role of diagnostics in stemming the tide of increasing AMR and preserving the potency of existing treatments features in FIND’s 2015–2020 strategy. FIND’s commitment to tackling AMR using diagnostics was pledged at the Call to Action conference.
Global solutions for a global problem: Using diagnostics to prevent AMR
Diagnostics have a critical role across the Global Action Plan on AMR. As an expert non-profit organization focused on diagnostics, FIND will use its unique expertise in a multi-stakeholder effort on AMR diagnostics. FIND and UNITAID are developing a partnership to form an accelerator for AMR diagnostics rapid uptake. Pending additional partner engagement, FIND is committed to:
- By 2018, evaluate biomarkers for fever triaging tests in 3 LMICs, in order to inform development efforts and optimize use of antibiotics.
- By 2019, develop a virtual specimen repository, expand the ReSeq TB platform to other pathogens and establish data utilization and connectivity models for routine diagnostics, in order to strengthen AMR surveillance.
- By 2020, develop and implement decision aids and 3+ new or adapted simple diagnostic tools, such as fever triaging tests or UTI dipsticks, across 3-5 countries to reduce antibiotic overuse.
- By 2022, deliver 1-2 companion diagnostics for new antibiotics, e.g., for drug-resistant gonorrhoea, in order to prevent early emergence of resistance.
In combination, these interventions can save the “global good” (antibiotics) by prolonging the life of existing drugs, save lives by ensuring better and timelier treatment and save money by reducing the emergence of antibiotic resistance.