Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the Pandemic Treaty


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AMR, Pandemic Treaty

Mains level: Not Much

antimicrobial resistance amr

Central Idea

  • Pandemic Treaty: The latest version of the draft Pandemic Instrument, also known as the “pandemic treaty,” was shared with Member States at the World Health Assembly.
  • Removal of AMR Mentions: It became apparent that all mentions of addressing antimicrobial resistance in the Pandemic Instrument were at risk of removal.

What is AMR?

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the development of resistance in microorganisms to drugs that were once effective against them.
  • Microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, can become “immune” to medications used to kill or control them.
  • Misuse or overuse of antibiotics can contribute to the development of AMR.

About the Pandemic Treaty

  • Initiation of Work: Work on the Pandemic Instrument began in December 2021.
  • Objective: The instrument aims to protect nations and communities from future pandemic emergencies under the WHO’s Constitution.

Importance of Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

  • Calls for Inclusion: Civil society and experts, including the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, have emphasized the inclusion of AMR in the Pandemic Instrument.
  • Not Limited to Viruses: Not all pandemics in the past or future are caused by viruses, with bacterial pandemics like plague and cholera being devastating examples.
  • Impact of Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections cause one in eight deaths globally and contribute to the rise of drug-resistant infections.

Need for Comprehensive Pandemic Preparedness

  • Wider Range of Threats: Planning and developing effective tools to respond to a broader range of pandemic threats, beyond viruses, is crucial.
  • Secondary Bacterial Infections: Even in viral pandemics like COVID-19, secondary bacterial infections become a serious issue, requiring effective antibiotics.

Concerns over Potential Removal of AMR Measures

  • Risk to Future Pandemics: The removal of AMR measures from the Pandemic Instrument could hinder efforts to protect people from future pandemics.
  • At-Risk Measures: Measures at risk of removal include better access to safe water, infection prevention and control, integrated surveillance, and antimicrobial stewardship.

Strengthening the Pandemic Instrument to Address AMR

  • Inclusion of AMR Measures: Measures to address AMR can be easily incorporated into the Pandemic Instrument.
  • Recommendations for Inclusion: Recommendations include addressing bacterial pathogens, tracking viral and bacterial threats, and harmonizing AMR stewardship rules.

Efforts to Highlight AMR in the Pandemic Instrument

  • Involvement of Specialized Organizations: Civil society and research organizations participated in the WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body, providing analysis on AMR in the draft.
  • Publication of Special Edition: Leading academic researchers and experts published a special edition outlining the importance of addressing AMR in the Pandemic Instrument.

Current State and Next Steps

  • Concerns over Removal: Insertions related to AMR are at risk of removal after closed-door negotiations by Member States.
  • Importance of the Pandemic Instrument: The instrument is vital for mitigating AMR and safeguarding antimicrobials for treating secondary infections in pandemics.
  • Global Political Action: Collaboration and collective efforts are needed to address AMR and support the conservation and equitable distribution of safe and effective antimicrobials.

Safeguarding Antimicrobials for Future Pandemic Response

  • Undermining Goals: Missing the opportunity to address AMR in the Pandemic Instrument undermines its broader goals of protecting nations and communities.
  • Core Role of Antimicrobials: Antimicrobials are essential resources for responding to pandemics and must be protected.
  • Call for Strengthened Measures: Member States should strengthen measures to safeguard antimicrobials and support actions for conserving their effectiveness within the instrument.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch