Many microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, pose a threat to public health. Pharmacies create antibacterials to kill and disrupt the growth and reproduction of these microorganism, but, over time, these microorganisms evolve and change their genetic make up through Darwin’s natural selection. Organisms with slight genetic mutations are able to survive and reproduce, passing this genetic information on to the next generation, and thus creating a slight variation in the genetic make up of the system of organisms. When used in context with microorganisms, this process is known as “antimicrobial resistance,” or AMR for short.
This cycle can have detrimental consequences all across the globe, as the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2050, 10 million people will die annually from the effects of antimicrobial resistance. The WHO gathered this weekend to discuss creating a plan on how to either stop or slow down this mechanism for growth.
The main topic of discussion was providing global awareness, education, and surveillance. Delegations such as Belarus and Turkey were in the process of drafting two separate working papers, but each with many equal points. “We see awareness and education specifically as a long term goal, and finding alternate techniques for discovering AMRs, such as quorum sensing, a short term goal,” said the delegation of Turkey. “Quorum sensing is a technique that is therapeutic and detects and records genes that cause harmful bacteria to spread and evolve.” This information that is gather by the quorum sensing can be used to create medications to stay one step ahead of AMR. Te delegation of Belarus agreed with these points, as well as adding that “surveillance is imperative to the success of antibacterial medications.” He did not say specifically what these plans for surveillance were.
Funding was another hot topic for debate. The delegation of Thailand, for example, was drafting a working paper with the delegations of Romania, Botswana, and San Marino that would provide “organic” and “in-house” growth for developing countries such as their own. When asked about his specific working paper, he responded saying “We want to specifically ally with countries at the same level as us to create a more withstandable future to prevent AMR and save the lives of those all around the globe.”