Coronavirus infections can lead to bacterial infections—and bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment with antibiotics

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evidence that vaccination not only prevents the spread of certain bacteria and prevents resistance from occurring, but it also significantly curtails the use, and misuse, of antibiotic drugs every year by preventing infections in the first place. So, while COVID-19 vaccines will be essential to ending the pandemic, and in reducing the spread of AMR, vaccines against other diseases also have a role to play.

But as the race to make COVID-19 vaccines available continues, there is another way in which vaccination can help. The speed at which the world has rallied to develop these vaccines, and make them equitably available, also provides a good global model for how we collectively tackle AMR, which hasn’t seen anywhere near the kind of investment as COVID-19, despite being a rapidly escalating threat with the potential to cause the same kind of global devastation.

A similar collaborative approach could help provide a framework for the challenge of developing new antimicrobial drugs and making them equitably available too. Because even though antibiotics have almost certainly saved thousands of lives during this pandemic, and even though a lack of access to antibiotics still kills more people than antimicrobial resistance, unless we develop new drugs that will almost certainly change.


Seth Berkley

    Seth Berkley, MD, is CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

    Ramanan Laxminarayan

      Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., M.P.H., is board chair of the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership.



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