Vaccines Could Play Vital Role In Reducing AMR

Scientific American: We’re Not Using One of Our Best Weapons against Drug-Resistant Microbes
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been hailed as one of the biggest threats to humanity. … But while the challenges of developing new classes of antibiotics and reducing the use and misuse of existing drugs have dominated the headlines, there is a more immediate and complementary solution: vaccines. Vaccination not only prevents the spread of these bugs and prevents resistance from occurring, but it also significantly curtails the use of drugs every year by preventing infections in the first place. … [I]f we made AMR a core part of our global vaccine strategy — dictating how we prioritize and incentivize the use of existing vaccines and the development of new ones — then we could achieve so much more. Until we do, we’re not doing all we can to beat AMR. … [A]s the WHO Executive Board reviews the progress and discusses the challenges of AMR [at their annual meeting last week], we have to face up to the grim fact that it will take years or even decades to develop new antibiotics — and when they are developed, the cycle of resistance development will just begin anew. And yet there are vaccines already in existence and development that are not being deliberately targeted at AMR and so are not fully exploited. Given the right incentives they could expand our arsenal against AMR and make all the difference” (2/8).