Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has warned of the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria in a speech at a United Nations Summit.
In his speech, Mr Hancock detailed the threat posed by the increasing number of cases of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, calling the issue ‘an existential threat as great as climate change.’
We must remind ourselves of what it’s like to be faced with an untreatable disease and never forget that feeling, so we don’t ever have to face it again,’ said Mr Hancock.
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‘We need governments to recognise this and act now. And I pledge to do that. We need to get better at how we use existing antibiotics, whether for humans or for animals. We need to develop new antibiotics.’
According to the WHO, Lack of clean water and sanitation and inadequate infection prevention and control promotes the spread of microbes, some of which can be resistant to antimicrobial treatment. Additionally, the cost of antimicrobial resistance to the economy is significant. In addition to death and disability, prolonged illness results in longer hospital stays, the need for more expensive medicines and financial challenges for those impacted.
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We need to make sure the supply chain is safe and shared, with shared global standards,’ added Mr Hancock.
‘And crucially, we need to think always about the One Health interactions between humans, animals and the environment we all share. Because this pandemic has reminded us that when we don’t get this right, we are all vulnerable. So we must act together.’