The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact across the globe, in all aspects of daily life. As European policymakers respond and engage in building more resilient healthcare systems, it is crucial that we understand the implications of COVID-19 on the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Oftentimes called “the silent pandemic”, AMR is likely to have been responsible for a third as many deaths as COVID-19 worldwide in 2020. In the EU alone, AMR is responsible for at least 33,000 deaths per year and is estimated to cost the EU €1.5 billion per year in healthcare costs and productivity losses.
A new briefing from the European Public Health Alliance discusses the interplay between COVID-19 and AMR. It explores the direct and indirect impacts of different responses to the pandemic relevant to AMR and presents the policy and political reactions they have stimulated so far.
The different factors that mediate the relationship between the pandemic and AMR include:
- Antibiotic prescriptions
- Misuse of antibiotics
- Vaccination uptake
- Overburdened health systems
- Non-communicable diseases and air pollution
- Political responses
The analysis reveals some important challenges moving forwards, but also identifies areas of opportunity for change and improvement. It calls for concerted international efforts, involving diverse stakeholders, for a sustainable and equitable solution in the fight against AMR.