Homeopathy and antimicrobial resistance
09 December 2017 (online)
It is sometimes assumed that infectious disease has largely been conquered and the future global challenge for health services is chronic, long-term, non-communicable disease. Indeed the World Health Organisation's projections for the evolution of the global burden of disease between 2004 and 2030 show a shift in the distribution of deaths and from infectious, perinatal and nutritional causes to non-communicable disease.[ 1 ] But it is far too early to declare victory. HIV/AIDS remains one of the major causes of mortality in WHO's projections, and infectious disease will be increasingly hardcore due to increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The British government recently published a Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy covering the period 2013 to 2018. This warned ‘The harsh reality is that infections are increasingly developing that cannot be treated. The rapid spread of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria means that we could be close to reaching a point where we may not be able to prevent or treat everyday infections or diseases.’ It also pointed out that the rate of introduction of new antibiotics is at an all-time low.[ 2 ]
The main features of the strategy are: better stewardship of antibiotics, development and deployment of improved diagnostic methods for infection, and development of new antibiotics. This is essentially a convergent, ‘more of the same’ approach. Unless there is a turnaround in the long-term downward trend in antibiotic discovery, this strategy will only slow the spread of AMR, not reverse it. There is no discussion of alternative strategies, for instance boosting host resistance.
- 1 Mathers C.D., Loncar D.. Updated projections of global mortality and burden of disease, 2002–2030: data sources, methods and results. Evidence and Information for Policy. 2006. World Health Organization; www.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/bod_projections2030_paper.pdf?ua=1
- 2 UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018. Department of Health, www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244058/20130902_UK_5_year_AMR_strategy.pdf
- 3 World Health Organisation. Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). 2013. October Update http://www.who.int/tb/challenges/mdr/mdr_tb_factsheet.pdf?ua=1
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