A global stakeholder initiative has launched to optimize the use of diagnostic tests in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. The initiative comes as current trends project antimicrobial resistance could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

The initiative is based on a stakeholder statement of commitment that serves as a framework for collaborative action, outlining specific goals for leveraging existing diagnostic solutions and investing in improvements and access. All interested stakeholders are invited to join the effort and commit to:

  • Building a long-term economic case for diagnostics as a public good in the fight against drug-resistant infections.
  • Establishing public-private partnerships to develop health systems and create wide-scale access to diagnostics.
  • Working to ensure effective global utilization of diagnostics.
  • Advocating for research and development investments, funding, simplified regulatory processes, and sustainable reimbursement policies to encourage development.
Andrew Fish, AdvaMedDx.

Andrew Fish, AdvaMedDx.

“Diagnostic tests are an underutilized resource in the fight against antimicrobial resistance,” says Andrew Fish, executive director of industry association AdvaMedDx, one of a number of stakeholders that have signed on to the commitment. “Today’s commitment is an important first step in helping to educate healthcare providers and patients on the value of diagnostic tests, improve access, reform regulatory barriers, and create incentives to increase the use of these tests around the globe.”

“We must galvanize action in both private and public sectors to accelerate the uptake of diagnostics, including for HIV and TB testing and treatment monitoring,” adds Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). “Quality care, including timely diagnosis, should be ensured for everyone to save lives and to prevent widespread resistance.”

The commitment statement outlines future goals and highlights the immediate benefits of leveraging existing diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests have the capacity to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use by identifying nonbacterial infections, expedite diagnosis and treatment decisions through point-of-care tests, and guide antimicrobial treatment selection through antibiotic susceptibility tests. Additionally, diagnostic tests support early detection and diagnosis of drug-resistant infections, enable effective disease surveillance and outbreak monitoring, and help prevent the spread of resistant organisms.

Vincent A. Forlenza, BD.

Vincent A. Forlenza, BD.

“The adoption and innovation of diagnostic tests is now more important than ever,” says Vincent A. Forlenza, chairman, CEO, and president of BD. “As an early supporter of this effort, we’re committed to partnering with other organizations and healthcare providers in an effort to improve access to this life-saving technology.”

The announcement was made during a satellite event at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The panel discussion convened industry leaders and global experts on antimicrobial resistance to discuss the growing public health crisis and the critical role of diagnostic solutions in combating it. Dame Sally Davies, DBE, FMedSci, FRS, chief medical officer of the United Kingdom, delivered the keynote address.

“Antimicrobial resistance is the biggest threat to global health—it could halt the progress of over a century of modern medicine, “ says Davies. “Rapid point-of-care diagnostics are critical to the fight against drug resistant infections. Identifying the cause of an infection—bacterial, viral, fungal—will improve prescribing decisions and reduce unnecessary prescribing. The world needs to be committed to supporting the development and use of new diagnostics.”