The world together solving the antibiotic emergency

21 June 2024

In this comment, Sir Mark Walport FRS, Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society, reflects on the event ‘The world together solving the antibiotic emergency’ and highlights key science issues still to be tackled in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to global health and economic stability. In 2019, AMR was linked to nearly 5 million deaths, making it one of the world’s biggest killers. By 2050, it could reduce global GDP by 3.8% and push 28 million people into poverty. Coordinated international efforts are essential to combat this crisis.

On 16 May 2024, the Royal Society, in partnership with His Majesty’s Government and Dame Sally Davies FRS, UK Special Envoy on AMR, hosted an event titled ‘The world together solving the antibiotic emergency.’ The event featured speakers from over 30 countries, including the Prince of Wales and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. Key commitments announced during the event included the UK Government pledging up to £85 million to combat AMR, including up to £10 million to help establish a global independent scientific panel for AMR. 

In this comment, Sir Mark Walport FRS reflects on the key moments of the day and highlights the need for continued efforts in developing new antibiotics and establishing a robust international science advice mechanism.