In a bid to maintain the future effectiveness of antibiotics, and raise awareness in ensuring ongoing patient safety, Pfizer has assembled experts to create awareness about Antimicrobial Stewardship.
This was disclosed in a virtual media roundtable held Tuesday and attended by medical professionals Professor Oyinlola Omoniyi Oduyebo of LUTH and Dr. Kennedy Tamunoimiegbam Wariso of UPTH.
At the roundtable, participants discuss the need for Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) as treatment of infections is becoming more difficult due to the widespread emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
Medical Director West Africa Pfizer, Dr. Kodjo Soroh in his comments said that “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.
Soroh noted that AMR is one of the biggest threats to global health today and can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. If it continues to rise unchecked, minor infections could become life-threatening, serious infections could become impossible to treat, and many routine medical procedures could become too risky to perform. Without action by governments, industry, and society, AMR is expected to cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050.”
According to him, “Overuse of antibiotics is creating stronger germs. Some bacteria are already “resistant” to common antibiotics. When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it is often harder and more expensive to treat the infection. Losing the ability to treat serious bacterial infections is a major threat to public health.”
Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.
Also speaking is Professor Oyinlola Omoniyi Oduyebo, who reinforced that “AMR is a serious threat to global public health. It increases morbidity and mortality and is associated with high economic costs due to its healthcare burden. Infections with multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria also have substantial implications on clinical and economic outcomes. Moreover, increased indiscriminate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic will heighten bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths.
“This review highlights AMR’s scale and consequences, the importance, and implications of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) to fight resistance and protect global health. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), an organizational or system-wide healthcare strategy, is designed to promote, improve, monitor, and evaluate the rational use of antimicrobials to preserve their future effectiveness, along with the promotion and protection of public health.
Oduyebo explained that ASP has been very successful in promoting antimicrobials’ appropriate use by implementing evidence-based interventions. The “One Health” approach, a holistic and multisectoral approach, is also needed to address AMR’s rising threat. AMS practices, principles, and interventions are critical steps toward containing and mitigating AMR. Evidence-based policies must guide the “One Health” approach, vaccination protocols, health professionals’ education, and the public’s awareness about AMR.”
While explaining how AMR programs optimize the use of antimicrobials, Prof. Kennedy Tamunoimiegbam Wariso, said that AMR improves patient outcomes, reduces AMR and health-care-associated infections, and saves healthcare costs amongst others.
“With rates of AMR increasing worldwide, and very few new antibiotics being developed, existing antibiotics are becoming a limited resource. It is therefore essential that antibiotics only be prescribed and that last-resort antibiotics be reserved for patients who truly need them.
Wariso commented that a robust pipeline of new antimicrobials is essential to restoring the balance against increasing rates of AMR. However, significant economic hurdles have made research and development in this area a challenge. No novel class of antibiotics has been launched for almost 40 years, and even when newly approved treatments come to market, they may be used sparingly to support good antimicrobial stewardship practices making it difficult to recover the high cost associated with development. New reimbursement models that more fully reflect the complete value of antimicrobials are critical.
Pfizer’s position is that governments and the public health community must work together with industry to take further action and support measures that will enable continued innovation in the development of new antibiotics and vaccines to help curb the spread of AMR.