Antimicrobial resistance (AMR): a local problem and a global challenge

To shorten it: In the future, available antimicrobial agents may not be effective in treating many potentially fatal bacterial infections in humans and pets.

The message is very simple, but if you read it several times and think about the possible consequences, the message makes you shiver.

Microbiologists have long warned of our challenges in the 21st century, as many scientists have predicted the possibility of an emerging viral pandemic1. In the real world, we have seen how unprepared we are for such eventualities. The same story is true for the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that Alexander Fleming in his 1945 interview with The New York Times warned that the misuse of antimicrobials leads to the selection of resistant bacteria 2.

It is likely that many scientific facts and predictions will not be applied as binding rules in policy making by countries and health authorities, as they might be so busy with the little issues of everyday life as with the search for proactive solutions.

AMR is a multi-faceted problem that requires a holistic view to be solved. We need to understand the perspective of health that sees human, animal and environmental health as an integrated system. Despite the urgent need to develop such systems, the one health approach still looks like an interesting idea rather than a practical, action-oriented approach in most situations or in most developing countries. 3, 4.

It is worth noting that AMR has been seen as a global challenge for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of many countries around the world, as discussed at the United Nations General Assembly in April 2021. 5 Volkan Bozkir the President of the UN General Assembly underlined the global importance of this unnoticed problem ” Antimicrobial resistance is the invisible pandemic that we ignore at our peril. Antimicrobial resistance measures must be at the heart of future COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and recovery plans. The One Health approach will help us to better recognize the interconnections between people, animals, plants and our common environment so that we can make our world a healthier place for all. “.5

In the 21st century, we, the global residents of planet Earth, are more connected than ever before, and a growing problem in a specific region could turn into an international crisis a few years later. On the other hand, there are several economic or geographic boundaries that prevent researchers from working together to solve large-scale global problems like AMR. How do you predict a better future when the issues are so intertwined and complex today?

Many scientists have already proven that they are ready to work together for a better future, despite the difficulties and limited resources. It seems that we need more international research groups in order to find more practical solutions to multifaceted problems like AMR.

The BMC series has turned out to be a great community that brings together different ideas of international importance freely accessible around the world. We are delighted to announce a new collection on AMR at BMC veterinary research, entitled Combat resistance to veterinary antimicrobials.

Submission to the collection is open until March 31, 2022, and we are happy to invite researchers to share their valuable insights of global significance to be considered for this collection.

  1. [ Accessed: 1 August 2021)
  2. Noah Rosenblatt-Farrell (2009) The Landscape of Antibiotic Resistance, Environ Health Perspect. 117(6): A244–A250  [doi: 1289/ehp.117-a244 ]
  3. [ Accessed: 1 August 2021]
  4. Mitchell MEV et al. (2020) The Challenges of Studying Antimicrobial Resistance in Vietnam – What Benefits Does a One Health Approach Offer to Animal and Human Health Sectors? BMC Public Health. 20: 213 (
  5. [ Accessed: 1 August 2021]

About Hector Hedgepeth

Check Also

Want to be a veterinarian? Here’s what you need to know

This is Science Week, a week-long event held in Ireland every November, celebrating science in …