It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since I wrote a piece for the journal Science with the headline, “Desperately Seeking New Antibiotics.” At the time, I had a lot of concerns about the increase in the number of infections that were becoming resistant to antibiotics, the need for diagnostic tests to monitor antibiotic use and how pharma company pipelines for new antibiotics had dried up.
Since 2008, this perfect storm of issues has continued to rage to the point where the World Health Organization has declared it a global public health issue. Their conclusion is that without urgent action, we’re heading for an era where people could die from common infections and minor injuries.
Momentum to fix this situation is now at an all-time high.
Just before Christmas, I received an email with the subject line ‘AMR (Anti-Microbial Resistance) actions for the President’. It was an invitation for me to join a working group for the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The group was tasked with formulating recommendations to address the growing concern around the rise of antimicrobial resistance.