Failing to plan, it’s been said, is planning to fail. By this standard, the United States and other countries are planning for failure when it comes to preparing for the next public health crises, one of which will certainly be antimicrobial resistance, the phenomenon in which bacteria and fungi evolve to resist even the strongest treatments.
Covid-19 has demonstrated the catastrophic result of a virus catching the world unprepared. But over human history, bacteria have been our most dangerous foe. So it doesn’t make sense to me that the Biden administration recently released a pandemic preparedness plan that mentions the threat of antimicrobial resistance just once, and then only in passing.
This omission is ominous. Drug-resistant “superbugs” sicken nearly 3 million Americans each year and kill 35,000. Some experts estimate the real toll is much higher, with up to 162,000 Americans dying each year from antimicrobial resistance. An influential report commissioned by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Wellcome Trust estimated this scourge could kill as many as 10 million people each year around the globe. [Continue reading…]