Antimicrobial resistance highlighted in global campaign


AMR is an increasing global health priority, estimated to be directly responsible for 1.27 million deaths worldwide in 2019.

This week (November 18-24) marks World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, a global campaign celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of AMR.

AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, often due to the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants.

The campaign encourages the use of best practices to reduce the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. Themed 'Preventing antimicrobial resistance together', the 2023 campaign calls for cross-sectoral collaboration to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is driving the campaign, says to effectively reduce AMR, all sectors must use antimicrobials prudently and appropriately, take preventive measures to decrease the incidence of infections and follow good practices in disposal of antimicrobial contaminated waste.

In 2021, the WHO declared that AMR is one of the top 10 global health threats facing humanity, and that it required urgent action to avoid up to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. The global health body says the world faces an antibiotics pipeline and access crisis, suggesting there is an inadequate R&D pipeline in the face of rising levels of resistance, and urgent need for additional measures to ensure equitable access to new and existing vaccines, diagnostics and medicines.

AMR is estimated to be directly responsible for 1.27 million deaths worldwide and associated with an estimated 4.95 million deaths in 2019. If left unchecked, this is predicted to cause 10 million deaths by 2050.

In addition to death and disability, AMR has significant economic costs. The World Bank estimates that AMR could result in US$1 trillion additional healthcare costs by 2050, and US$1 trillion to US$ 3.4 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) yearly losses by 2030.

In an initiative to assist industry in developing and translating technologies to address the threat of AMR in both human and animal health, the CSIRO’s Biomedical Manufacturing Program this week launched the AMR Technologies Market Area.

The Market Area will work closely with CSIRO’s Business Development teams and the Minimising AMR Mission to grow CSIRO Biomedical Manufacturing Program’s portfolio of industry projects across three key areas: medical devices, therapeutics, and vaccines. There will also be funding available for organisations (particularly SMEs) looking to work with CSIRO. For more information, contact

A number of AusBiotech members are focused on developing solutions to AMR, including BiomeBank, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, LBT Innovations, Lixa, Next Science, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Recce Pharmaceuticals, and SpeeDx.