AUSTRALIA – The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences has called for greater national coordination and a focus on streamlining commercialization processes for new antimicrobial resistance (AMR) solutions and technologies.

This is after they published a report that revealed that AMR is fast becoming a “silent pandemic” in Australia. The paper, ‘Curbing antimicrobial resistance: A technology-powered, human-driven approach to combating the ‘silent pandemic’ discusses the challenges that Australia and the rest of the globe must conquer to slow the spread of AMR. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed AMR as one of the top 10 worldwide public health problems, with the potential to render some of the most important antimicrobial medications ineffective.

The CSIRO estimates that AMR, which is majorly transmitted through the food chain, causes over 1.27 million fatalities worldwide each year, and modeling indicates that AMR may be to blame for over 5,000 deaths each year in Australia.

Without preventative action, it is estimated that, by 2050, AMR could cause more than 10 million deaths per year and cost the global economy US$100 trillion.

The report calls out the key challenges and opportunities for Australia to improve how the nation prevents, detects, diagnoses, and responds to drug-resistant infections and reduce the impacts of AMR. 

Drawing on the expertise of more than 100 multidisciplinary experts across government, academia, and industry, the report looked at a range of potentially impactful technologies such as Integrated surveillance and sensing solutions, Point-of-care diagnostics, Vaccination technologies, Antimicrobial surfaces, and Air sterilization technologies.

Examples, in particular, include toilets that can identify and get rid of hazardous microbes before they reach waterways and surface sprays that change color when pathogens are present.

The research also emphasizes the value of a coordinated, preventive strategy for AMR, which is a cornerstone of the mission to minimize antimicrobial resistance.

“This will be key to resolving the lack of awareness, understanding, accountability, and responsibility to improve AMR outcomes, and to tackle the impacts of climate change that can accelerate the emergence and spread of AMR across sectors,” reads the report in part.

It aids in the mission’s ongoing work, which was created by CSIRO in collaboration with the Australian Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry as well as Health and Aged Care.

The mission seeks to collaborate with end users, academic, and business partners to identify and rank the solutions that will most effectively stop and manage the spread of AMR.

As per the report, vaccination strategies, coupled with embracing new technologies for minimizing pathogens and resistance spread through prevention-focused design principles, will help Australia reduce the incidence of AMR in humans, plants, animals, and the environment. 

“By removing the barriers to AMR solution commercialization and implementation, Australia will be supported to ensure the nation has more solutions to manage communicable diseases – and the continued rise of AMR – in the market,” says the report.

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