On November 2, 2022, GSL’s Dr. Susan Rogers Van Katwyk was invited to present on antimicrobial resistance and pandemic preparedness at the World Health Organization webinar titled, Antimicrobial resistance, COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness.
Dr. Rogers Van Katwyk, Managing Director of the AMR Policy Accelerator at the Global Strategy Lab, highlighted the importance of not limiting discussions about the new pandemic preparedness instrument to viral pandemics and ensuring that any instrument aimed as pandemic preparedness addresses a wider range of pandemic threats, including AMR.
She explained that while AMR has been largely overlooked in the pandemic instrument, including AMR would be fairly straightforward as there is significant alignment between AMR and viral pandemic threats.
Dr. Rogers Van Katwyk emphasized the importance of including bacterial pathogens of concern (including antibiotic resistant pathogens) with the definition of “pandemics” in article 1 of the instrument. Further she outlined key areas where pandemic threats and AMR have overlapping needs, and where dual purpose provisions could lead to greater impact. For instance, a provision could be added to ensure equitable access to vital medical countermeasures, such as antimicrobials, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, and vaccines.
Dr. Rogers Van Katwyk underscored the importance safeguard antimicrobials in the pandemic instrument to reduce the threat of AMR and to preserve an essential resource for responding to future pandemic threats, as the treatment for many emerging infections relies on antimicrobials to reduce severity and death from secondary bacterial infections.
Dr. Rogers Van Katwyk closing thoughts stressed how it’s important that while we evaluate the lessons learned from COVID-19, we do not remain narrowly focused on viral diseases that look like COVID at the expense of other pandemic sources. Addressing the full range of future pandemic threats offers the best use of resources.
We must build synergistically instead of only focusing on one element of pandemics, and giving insufficient attention to other pandemic sources. This way we can ensure that there is a comprehensive framework to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future global pandemics.
Watch the webinar here.