Authors: Ellen Colvin, Future Science Group
A team of experts from the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, based at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have collaborated to write a new Technical Note to aid countries globally in improving their antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance.
The Technical Note released details on the importance of molecular diagnostics for giving reliable data and the necessary infrastructure required to use and maintain this surveillance technology. Health authorities can use the information provided in the landscape analysis to choose the most suitable tests for providing clarity on globally emerging AMR.
“Urgent action is needed to combat antimicrobial resistance to prevent a post-antibiotic era, where common infections and minor injuries can be fatal. This real threat to global health needs worldwide cooperation to detect and track drug resistant bacteria. Using molecular diagnostics is a new paradigm in disease control which will inform public health decisions and drive regional, national and global action,” explained Carmem Pessoa Da Silva (WHO).
This report is the latest in a range of measures adopted by the WHO to tackle AMR. The Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS), was a global action plan initiated prior to this by WHO in 2015. Its purpose was to expand and implement treatment guidelines when using antibiotics and to monitor patterns of resistance. Countries just beginning to implement newer molecular diagnostic tests will especially benefit from the Technical Note, however, it also includes updated information for national reference laboratories of all levels.
Professor David Aanensen, the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Big Data Institute, University of Oxford (UK), commented: “Our contribution to this technical note has been informed by our strong international partnerships with public health surveillance teams across the world and builds on our establishment of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit last year. We hope this will have a significant impact on informed choices that different laboratories and countries may make to improve AMR surveillance.”