Antimicrobial resistance & it’s impact on the science industry

Antimicrobials are medicines which are used to prevent/ treat infections in humans, animals, and plants.  They include; antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when pathogens (microorganisms which cause disease) genetically mutate over time to protect themselves from threats.  As a result, current medicines become ineffective making infections harder or impossible to treat.  AMR happens over time naturally, however, it has been accelerated mainly by the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials.  It is estimated that currently 12,000 people a year in the UK die from AMR ( and the UN have predicted that this figure is set to rise to an estimate of 10 million people world-wide by 2050.  It has already been observed globally that there are high rates of resistance towards antibiotics used to treat common bacterial infections for example, urinary tract infections. This is demonstrates why the World Health Organisation has declared AMR one of the top 10 global threats facing humanity.


The science community are responding by pushing for more proactive research and funding into novel solutions to build up the depleting supply of antimicrobial treatments available and treat infections which are resistant to existing antimicrobials.  One of the many examples of some novel and interesting research into the area include research being conducted into nematodes and other natural antibiotics.  Due to the increase in multi-drug resistant, extremely resistant and completely drug resistant pathogens there is more of a collaborative global focus and many pharmaceutical organisations are now redoubling their efforts and funding into AMR. We are now seeing some large organisations expanding their sites to accommodate larger or new facilities with small and medium sized organisations (SME’s) also putting great efforts into AMR.


The amount of research into this area is on-going to produce various novel medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic tools to help in the fight against AMR.  What is clear, is this area of research is going to be high priority for the science community going forward.  Due to this there will be an increase in jobs within the science industry and a higher demand for skillsets suitable to work within this area.


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