Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) describes the situation when microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses) no longer respond to the drugs (antimicrobials) that are used to treat infections. As a consequence, infections in all living things, animals, plants and humans, become more difficult (potentially impossible) to treat. Infections that are difficult or impossible to treat are more likely to result in higher rates of transmission, increased severity of infection, and lead to higher mortality.
AMR is a serious global health concern, relevant to everyone, everywhere. We must work together across disciplines [Box 1] if we are to reduce further emergence and spread of AMR.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign occurring every 18-24 November. WAAW aims to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practice among One Health stakeholders, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public. Each year WAAW has a particular theme; the theme for 2022 is Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together (PART).
Thinking outside the box
Given the complex, interlinking nature of AMR and the close interplay between human, animal and plant health with the wider environment, there is a need for multidisciplinary expertise and input, not just human medicine or biological sciences. Engaging with other specialties such as engineering, construction, electronics, arts and social sciences can provide a different perspective on the challenges posed by AMR. QuantuMDx benefits from the insight of a strong multidisciplinary team, employing engineers, computer scientists, bioinformaticians, among many other skilled colleagues, who are passionate about providing quality diagnostics accessible for everyone.
Collaboration with professionals involved in policy, economics, and politics is essential to delivering sustainable solutions, as is engaging with the public. Communicating the threat of AMR to these stakeholders requires a special talent for balancing the accuracy of scientific information with memorable messaging that strives to change behaviour. Below are three inspirational examples of creative messaging that generate conversations about AMR:
- Visual artist Anna Dumitriu combines art and science to create stunning artwork and installations
- Robin Hiley composed the music and lyrics to the musical: The mould that changed the world
- Seriously Resistant: an experimental marketing campaign from Magpie (Leeds)
AMR does not respect international boundaries. In addition, access to quality healthcare, diagnostics, antimicrobial drugs, and vaccines is not universal. This disparity of access must be addressed if we are to reduce further emergence and spread of AMR.
Sharing high quality, evidence-based practice in an open-access manner means that resources such as guidelines, toolkits, e-learning are freely available to anyone who needs them. Adapting these initiatives/ideas so that they are applicable to different regions/cultures/healthcare settings around the world is paramount to empowering behaviour change supportive of preventing AMR.
Greater than a sum of its parts
To successfully overcome a challenge, it is beneficial to know your strengths and collaborate with those who share similar values can complement your skillset.
In the true spirit of WAAW 2022, QuantuMDx is proud to be working closely with esteemed others to develop and deliver quality diagnostic solutions accessible to anyone, anywhere, that ultimately reduce the burden of infectious diseases and prevent the emergence and spread of AMR.
Examples of our valued partnerships include a cooperation agreement Sanure Biotech for the commercialisation of Q-POC and its assays in China, a distribution agreement for the Q-POC™ Platform and assays with Menarini Diagnostics UK, and a partnership with SelectScience® to deliver a webinar about the role of rapid PCR testing at the point of need for diagnosing, treating and managing respiratory tract infections.
After meeting so many inspiring people during Medica 2022 and other in-person events, QuantuMDx are looking forward to developing new partnerships in 2023 and beyond.
The WAAW ‘orchestra’
In the same way that a single instrument cannot play a symphony, it is not feasible to expect that one organisation, drug, or rapid diagnostic test can provide a one-size-fits-all miracle cure for AMR.
Once a year during WAAW, organisations and interested parties come together (the orchestra) to highlight the great work (the symphony) that is already being done to educate, inform and advise best practice to reduce the emergence and spread of AMR. It is up to the global community (the audience) to be inspired and carry the PART tune throughout the year until the next time the great WAAW orchestra convenes.
Box 1. WAAW 2022: Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together.