Joint GARDP/DNDi statement at 74th World Health Assembly

26 May 2021

Statement on behalf of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative supported by the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP)

We thank WHO for the comprehensive report and its support, together with funders and partners, to GARDP to develop new treatments to address drug resistance.

The consequences of COVID-19 should encourage investment and international cooperation to prepare for and address the on-going impacts of antimicrobial resistance. The growth of drug-resistant infections is a silent pandemic. If left unchecked, humanity will be unable to treat common infections like pneumonia, infections in newborns or secondary bacterial infections in viral pandemics. Like COVID-19, drug-resistant bacteria can infect anyone, of any age, in any country. Unlike COVID-19, we can prepare now. The drug-resistant microbes are known, and meaningful change can be achieved with sufficient political will and resources.

Currently, the response is off course.

WHO’s latest review of antibacterial agents in development confirms that the 43 antibiotics currently in clinical development are insufficient to address drug resistance.

Many countries lack adequate access to existing antibacterial treatments.

Member States can take the following measures to strengthen national and global responses to drug resistance:

  • Invest in the development of medical countermeasures for priority infections as a critical element of preparedness.
  • Ensure that access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for all is a cornerstone of preparedness and response. New and existing mechanisms should be developed and funded to accelerate and secure equitable and affordable access to treatments.
  • Expand global cooperation across geographies and sectors, within a One Health framework. No country, organisation or sector can tackle AMR alone.
  • Ensure low- and middle-income countries are equal partners in a comprehensive global response.

Our collective success in fighting this pandemic will depend on governments developing a more robust, coordinated, and equitable approach.