Tackling AMR requires multidisciplinary and multisectoral expertise and collaborations at the interface of human-animal-plant-environment sectors. We were fortunate to gather, even though due to the current situation only virtual, a group of AMR experts working in the animal health and agriculture fields and an awareness of the needs in low- and middle- income countries who helped us to develop the animal-specific categorization fields of the Dynamic Dashboard. Receiving input from a diverse set of experts, including funders and people working on the ground, has been vital and we are happy to share some views from participants of the consultation.
Read the opinion Piece by Jeff Watts on behalf of HealthforAnimals here.
Here you will find the perspective pieces by Renée Larocque, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada and Arshnee Moodley, AMR Team Leader at CGIAR-AMR/ILRI, Kenya.
Opinion Piece by Jeff Watts on behalf of HealthforAnimals - a member of the Hub’s Stakeholder Group:
"Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine and public health. These medicines are the only way to treat a bacterial disease, and their importance to human and animal health cannot be understated.
Its why HealthforAnimals, as the global representative for manufacturers of animal health products, including antibiotics, recognizes the grave threat of antimicrobial resistance. If bacteria develop significant tolerance or resistance to antibiotics, we risk returning to a time when animals – and people – fell seriously ill or even died from simple, treatable infections.
When 1 out of 5 livestock across the globe are already lost to disease each year and an increasing number of people face a looming hunger crisis, we cannot afford to lose one of the most important tools in the veterinary arsenal to resistance.
Managing AMR and preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics is a core goal of HealthforAnimals. Last year, we released our Roadmap to Reducing the Need for Antibiotics where our Members made clear, measurable commitments towards more R&D, veterinary training, vaccine development, and more.
This Roadmap builds on the significant resources our sector has invested in recent decades in supporting responsible use, including a $3 billion+ annual investment into the research and development of novel vaccines and products for the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases in both companion and food-producing animals.
However, HealthforAnimals and our Members understand we cannot manage antimicrobial resistance alone. Studies have shown actions solely by the animal health sector will not solve it. AMR is a ‘One Health’ issue where human, animal and environmental health experts must work together.
HealthforAnimals proudly participates in the Global AMR R&D Hub’s Stakeholder Group to help foster these inter-disciplinary approaches to AMR. This valuable initiative was created by the G20 to collect and catalog all activities related to AMR including both basic and applied research.
At present, the Hub has collected data from human health and launched a dashboard for R&D efforts in human health. The Hub recently completed the second phase of this tripartite effort with the rollout of the Animal Health R&D dashboard. It is expected that the environmental dashboard will be available soon.
These three ‘One Health’ pillars – human, animal and environment – are crucial, and the dashboard launches are laudable successes from the Hub. However, we must ensure collaboration across all three, or these pillars can become silos.
As the Hub considers its future, HealthforAnimals and our Members encourage development of more interactive, interdisciplinary tools that enable users to understand specific R&D activities across all three pillars and how they are interconnected.
The Global AMR R&D Hub should also foster a greater understanding of antibiotic practices within each discipline to help strengthen the One Health knowledge of Members. For instance, sharing detail on how veterinarians use disease prevention tools such as vaccines as primary means of managing disease in herd situations rather than antimicrobials and that antimicrobial usage in food-producing animals lacks significant overlap with use of antimicrobials in humans.
The Global AMR R&D Hub has made impressive progress since its inception just one year ago. It’s a testament to the cordial, productive relationships across Membership.
However, we must not rest on our laurels. The Global AMR R&D Hub has a unique opportunity to become a leading, global One Health body.
Our Dashboards demonstrate that Hub Membership can work together to compile a wealth of knowledge within each of the One Health disciplines. Going forward, the greater challenge will be to break down the walls between these disciplines and allow them to become more than the sum of their parts.
It requires strong cooperation, but the result will be better management of AMR, which means healthier animals, people and environment.
HealthforAnimals and our Members are eager for this work and look forward to supporting the Hub in meeting this challenge."
Perspective Piece by Renée Larocque, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada:
"Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals remains a growing problem that threatens the ability to effectively treat infections in humans and animals. Livestock keepers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are highly affected by the inability to treat infectious disease outbreaks and associated loss in livestock productivity, which ultimately endangers food security.
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) have partnered to fund research to develop new alternatives to antibiotics, including vaccines, to tackle AMR in livestock and aquaculture production in LMICs. The 4-year, CA$27.9 million program - Innovative Veterinary Solutions for Antimicrobial Resistance - has funded 11 research projects globally that focus on developing new technologies and effective partnerships to reduce the use of antimicrobials in livestock and aquaculture operations in LMICs.
Global collaboration and cooperation through partnerships is crucial – no one group can tackle the challenge of AMR in food producing animals alone. Furthermore, to ensure the sustainability and continued efficacy of interventions, a One Health approach must be adopted. Funders should be encouraged to partner with a broad array of stakeholders to add complementary expertise to maximize the impact of the funded research and interventions.
By launching the animal component of its dynamic dashboard, the Global AMR R&D Hub is supporting the improvement of a coordination and collaboration in tackling global AMR using a one Health approach. As a funding agency, IDRC will benefit greatly from the evidence that the dashboard will provide. It holds great potential to help inform setting future funding priorities in AMR research moving forward. Congratulations on this new launch and we look forward to seeing its results!"
Perspective Piece by Arshnee Moodley, AMR Team Leader at CGIAR-AMR/ILRI, Kenya:
"My first introduction to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was during my M.Sc. (Med). My task was to elucidate the mechanisms of AMR in two seemingly lacklustre bacterial isolates from immunocompromised patients in South Africa. But how exciting it was to discover clinically relevant glycopeptide resistance genes similar to those found in enterococci and now in soil bacteria causing infections in humans. From South Africa, I moved to Denmark where I spent 14 years carrying out research in various areas within AMR, particularly focusing on animals and the zoonotic aspects of AMR. Denmark and Europe were the perfect places to build a solid foundation on the principles of antimicrobial use (AMU) and AMR and to see first-hand implementation of cross-sectorial strategies to mitigate AMR. I loved being there, but I also longed to come back to Africa, to be able to use all the knowledge and my experiences so that I can contribute to addressing AMR in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Tackling AMR in LMICs is a challenge because AMR has to compete for limited resources with other health priorities and furthermore local evidence on the extent and impacts of AMR is lacking. At the CGIAR AMR Hub led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), we are focused on understanding drivers for antimicrobial use in agriculture, identifying AMR transmission pathways between agriculture and humans, developing and testing interventions to reduce AMR risks and understand the social and economic consequences of potential interventions as a basis for selecting those that will be most effective in supporting sustainable agricultural intensification while reducing human health risks in LMICs. The Global AMR R&D Hub’s Dynamic Dashboard is a fantastic tool to finally be able to see where and how much R&D investments are being made in LMICs both in terms of specific thematic areas within AMR and the various sectors. This information is very valuable because governments and policy makers are able to use evidenced-based decision making to see where our future efforts and resources should be invested."